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N. B. WABD, F.R.S., F.L.S. 

Nulla ihi immodiclTei 



A/.Z, ^-e . 


Printed by Samusl Bsntlst and Co. 

Bangor House, Shoe Lane. 



Most of the facts detailed in the following 
work have been long before the public. They 
have been published in several periodicals, and in 
a letter to Sir W. J. Hooker, which appeared in 
the " Companion to the Botanical Magazine " for 
May, 1836. This letter was subsequently printed 
separately for private distribution among the 
Author's friends. The attention of the scien- 
tific world was Kkewise drawn to the subject at 
three several meetings of the British Association, 
and more particularly by an admirable paper 
written by the late Mr. Ellis, of Edinburgh, and 
published in the " Gardener's Magazine " for 
September, 1839. The simple yet comprehensive 
principle, however, upon which plants are grown 
in closed cases, does not appear to be clearly 
understood, and many misconceptions yet exist 
upon this point. The object of the present work, 
therefore, is to remove these erroneous notions, 
and thereby to enable those who wish to experi- 
ment upon the subject to do so without risk of 
disappointment. The Author is fearful that in 

A 3 


Not many years have elapsed since the closed 
cases were introduced to the notice of the public 
— their principal applications being, the growth 
of plants in all situations, even in those un- 
favourable to their development in the open air, 
and their conveyance to and from distant coun- 
tries. As regards the former of these appK- 
cations, although the use of the cases is daily 
becoming more extensive, much disappointment 
has arisen, in many instances ; but failures 
have resulted, in almost all cases, from want 
of thought or of knowledge, for the Author 
believes that it would be difficult to specify 
any plant, intractable of culture in the closed 
cases, where its natural conditions with respect 
to heat, light, &c., have been fulfilled. As to 
the conveyance of plants on shipboard, the plan 
is now universally adopted, and it is believed 
that there is not a civilized spot upon the earth's 
surface which has not, more or less, benefited by 
their introduction. 


of the most crowded cities would prove of incal- 
culable advantage in numerous diseases." The 
same arguments were used by Sir Joseph Paxton 
and others in 1851, with reference to the pre- 
servation of the Crystal Palace, and the erection 
of a Sanatorium for the use of the Hospital for 
Consumption. As this is a subject of vital im- 
portance, the Author hopes he may be pardoned 
in directing the attention of medical men to the 
possibility of constantly surrounding patients 
with a pure atmosphere, which, he imagines, 
will eventually be effected by a combination of 
vital and chemical forces. It is his firm con- 
viction that, with the progress of science, any 
climate on the face of the earth will be readily 
imitated and maintained. The use of the Sana- 
torium, as recommended by Sir Joseph, would 
certainly not be of service in all cases of pul- 
monary complaint, as the atmosphere of the 
Sanatorium and of the Hospital would neces- 
sarily be very different. 

A most pleasing duty remains to be fulfilled : 
— To the Viscoimt Downe his thanks are espe- 
cially due for having enabled him to establish 
some closed cases amongst the poor of his old 
neighbourhood, under the kind superintendence 
of his esteemed friend, the Rev. Mr. Quekett. 
In addition to those friends whose names are 




On the Natural Conditions of Plants 1 


On the Causes which interfere with the Natural Conditions 

of Plants in large Towns 19 


On the Imitation of the Natural Conditions of Plants in closely- 
glazed Cases 33 

On the Conveyance of Plants and Seeds on Ship-board . . 69 

On the Application of the Closed Plan in improving the Condi- 
tion of the Poor 85 

On the probable future Application of the preceding Facts . 101 

Appendix 117 



M RoianiM 

rwkf Rolfincius. 

8,„ flower. 

„ flower. 

26, „ requiiM 

„ require. 

12, „ Traille 

„ 'ftuil. 

98, „ Blecknim 

„ Bledmum. 

25, „ SoldaneU amautan 

,, Soldaneltam 

7 „ Sib^riM 

„ Hbirica. 

a,„ SleinbergU 

16, „ Glorima 

„ Gloxiiiia. 

25, „ lUgim 

18, „ I 

;; ^f- 

IB, „ grapes 
6, „ forty 

"„ ^^foar. 

16, dele "and GDlhrie.- 

3,^ soothes 

„ wothe. 

It', ;; Sir J. W. 

," Sitw. .r. 

9, „ AS 

2, after fecit a comma, itoi o full (top. 

B, iDsert " me " after the word " pvp." 

Those who wish to make themselves further 
acquainted with the British Ferns may consult 
Mr. Newman's " History of British Ferns," a 
third edition of which ia now in the press. 





Can the rush grow up without mire ? Can the flag grow without 
iter? — ^JoB. 

water? — ^Job. 

There, fed by food they love, to rankest size. 
Around the dwelling docks and wormwood rise ; 
Hero the strong mallow strikes her slimy root ; 
Hero the dull nightshade hangs her deadly fruit ; 
On hills of dust the henbane's faded green. 
And pencilled flowers of sickly scent is seen. 
At the wall's base the fiery nettle springs. 
With fruit globose, and fieroe with poisoned stings. 
Above, the growth of many a year, is spread 
The yellow level of the stonecrop^s bed ; 
In every chink delights the fern to grow 
With glossy leaf and tawny bloom below. 


I, qvoxovo oaEsooM." 


To enter into any lengthened detail on the 
all-impoTtant subject of the Natural Conditions 
of Plants would occupy far too much space ; yet 
to pass it by without special notice, in any work 
treating of their cultivation, would be impossible. 
Without a knowledge of the laws which regulate 
their growth, all our attempts must be empirical 


and more or less abortive. When we survey 
the vegetation on the surface of the earth, we are 
struck with the endless diversities of form which 
present themselves to our astonished gaze, from 
the magnificent palms of the Tropics and the 
bread-fruit of the Polynesian Islands to the rein- 
deer moss of Lapland, or the red snow of the 
Arctic regions. Yet the growth of all is governed 
by immutable laws, and they owe their varying 
forms to varying climatal conditions. 

In Rome upon Palm Sunday 

They bear true palms, 
Xhe Cardinals bow reverently 

And sing old Psalms : 
Elsewhere their Psalms are sung 

*Mid olive branches. 
The holly bough supplies their place 

Among the avalanches : 
More northern climes must be content 

With the sad willow. — Goethk. 


The heat to which plants are subjected varies 
from 30° or 40° below zero to 170° or 180° Fahr. 
In Spitzbergen, the earth in the middle of the 
short summer is never thawed to more than the 
depth of a few inches, and the stem of the only 
tree, a little willow, if tree it can be called, runs 
under ground for several feet within an inch or 
two of the never-melting ice, whikt in Mexico 


the heat rises to 170° or 180°, and the ground is 
occupied by cactuses, whose structure is such as 
to enable them to resist the extremest degree 
of drought Were it not for such plants, these 
hot regions would form impassable barriers be- 
tween neighbouring countries. No water is to 
be found in these districts, nor anything to eat 
save the fruit of the Petaya, which Hardy tells 
us was the sole subsistence of himself and his 
party for four days. This, unlike other luscious 
fruit, rather allays than creates thirst, while, at 
the same time it satisfies, to a certain degree, 
the sensation of hunger. St. Pierre calls the 
cactuses, the " Springs of the Desert." The 
wild ass of the Llanos, too, knows well how to 
avail himself of these plants. In the dry season, 
when all animal life flies from the glowing 
Pampas, when cayman and boa sink into death- 
like sleep in the dried-up mud; the wild ass 
alone, traversing the steppes, knows how to 
quench his thirst, cautiously stripping off the 
dangerous spines of the melocactus with his 
hoof, and then, in safety, sucking the cooling 
vegetable juice. The Providence of God is 
equally manifested in cold countries, as in Lap- 
land — where the rein-deer moss furnishes the 
sole food, during winter, of the rein-deer, without 
which the inhabitants could not exist. 



^* Even as the soil which ApriPs gentle showers 
Have filled with sweetness, and enriched with flowers, 
Rears up her suckling plants, still shooting forth 
The tender blossomd of her timely birth; 
But if denied the beams of cheerly May, 
They hang their withered heads and &de away.** 

It is hardly possible to overrate the influence 
of light upon plants. Its intensity, however, 
varies exceedingly. Sir J. W. Herschel says 
that the light at the Cape of Good Hope, when 
compared with that of our brightest summer's 
day in England, is as 44° to 27°. In other 
situations, plants are found growing where the 
light is not more than half of what would be 
given by an ordinary candle. Very much of 
our success in horticulture depends upon the 
proper amoimt of light ; and, the fact that flower- 
ing plants generally require more light than 
ferns, is one principal reason why the former do 
not succeed so well in closed cases in rooms, as 
the latter. A plant of Linaria Cymhallaria lived 
for some years in a closed case on the top of 
a model of a portion of Tintem Abbey. The 
branches which grew towards the light, invari- 
ably produced leaves of the full size, with per- 
fect flowers and fruit, whilst those branches 


which trailed down between the model and the 
window, and were nearly without light, never 
produced either flowers or fruit, and the leaves 
were not more than one-tenth of the ordinary 
size. This specimen was exhibited to the Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer,* to prove to him the 
depressing effects of want of light — and want 
of light ahne — as all the other conditions of 
the plant were the same. Some fairy roses, 
which had flourished in a case standing in the 
open air for seven or eight years, were nearly 
killed by being placed in a dark part of the 
transept of the Great Exhibition for six or 
seven weeks ; this temporary deprivation of 
light doing more injury than all the variations 
of our climate for so long a period had been 
able to effect. Light also, by sustaining the 
vital energies of a plant, enables it to resist the 
depressing effects of cold. The secretions of 
plants, too, are always developed in greater 
perfection according to the intensity of the 
light (combined with heat), and this to such 
a degree that the same species of plant — 
e.g. Cannabis sativa — which is inert in a 
temperate region, produces, in the tropics, secre- 
tions of a powerful and dangerous character. 

* Upon the occasion, in 1850, of a deputation waiting on the 
Chancellor for the abolition of the window duties. 


Man makes use of these facts in rendering 
many plants available for food, that could not 
otherwise be eaten, as the endive, celery, &c. 

** In North America, the operation of light in 
colouring the leaves of plants, is sometimes 
exhibited on a great scale, and in a very striking 
manner. Over the vast forests of that country 
clouds sometimes spread, and continue for many 
days, so as almost entirely to intercept the rays 
of the sun. In one instance, just about the 
period of vernation, the sun had not shone for 
twenty days, during which time the leaves of 
the trees had reached nearly their full size, but 
were of a pale or whitish colour. One fore- 
noon the sun broke through in full brightness, 
and the colour of the leaves changed so fast, 
that, by the middle of the afternoon, the whole 
forest, for many miles in length, exhibited its 
usual summer's dress." — Ellis. 


Without moisture, there can be no vegetation. 
Whatever may be the degree of heat, or of cold, 
or deficiency of light, if there be but moisture, 
plants of some kind are to be found. They 
form the oases in the sandy deserts, vegetate in 
the snow of the Arctic regions, and in and on 



the borders of thermal springs. The degrees 
of moisture vary exceedingly. The late Mr. 
Allan Cunningham often expressed to me his 
surprise at the extreme dryness of the atmo- 
sphere and soil in New Holland, where many 
species of plants grew, species, too, which did 
not appear to be constructed like the cactuses, to 
resist extreme drought ; but there, banksias and 
acacias would live for months without either dew 
or rain, in soils where not a particle of moisture 
was to be found on digging several feet below 
their roots. Numberless other plants, indepen- 
dently of those which live in water, cannot exist 
unless the atmosphere and soil are saturated with 
moisture — such as Trichomanes speciosum, and 
numerous tribes of plants which adorn the rocks 
in waterfalls, &c. One of the most important 
objects in gardening — but one which is too fre- 
quently overlooked — is to furnish plants with the 
requisite amount of moisture* That acute ob- 
server. Dr. Hooker, remarks that in Dr. Camp- 
bell's garden, at Darjiling (Sikkim Himalaya), 
there is a perpendicular bank, fifteen feet high, 
exposed to the west, and partly sheltered from 
the south-west by a house* Rhododendron 
DalhousicB has annually appeared oa this, the 
seeds being imported by the winds, or birds, 
from the neighbouring forest ; the seedlings, 

B 5 


however, perished till within the last two years ; 
since which time there has sprung up abundance 
of Lycopodium clavatum, and a Selaginella with 
Marchantia, which retain so constant a supply of 
moisture, that the Rhododendron now flourishes 
and flowers in perfection. This fact serves to 
explain why many plants in a state of nature 
(where the ground is completely covered with 
vegetation), succeed so much better than in the 
well-kept garden of the amateur ; the continued 
exhalation from the plants ensuring a constantly 
moist atmosphere, which is of as much use to 
vegetation as the rain. 

In some countries, as on the coast of 
Peru, rain scarcely ever falls, but, 'from May, 
for six months, a thin veil of clouds covers the 
coast, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. From the first 
appearance of the cloud, the sand hills, as if 
by enchantment, assume the features of a beau- 
tiful garden. It is a well known fact, that many 
hilly countries have been rendered quite sterile, 
in consequence of the indiscriminate destruction 
of their trees, the roots of which, taking up more 
water from the deep-seated springs than the 
plants requires for their own use, distil the surplus 
through the leaves upon the ground, forming so 
many centres of fertility. " Spare the forests, 
especially those which contain the sources of 


your streams, for your own sakes, but more 
especially for that of your children and grand- 


*' The meanest herb we trample in the field. 
Or in the garden nurture, when its leaf 
In autumn dies, forebodes another spring, 
And from short slumber wakes to life again.** 

All plants require rest, and obtain it in some 
coimtries by the rigor of winter; in others, by 
the scorching and arid heat of summer. Culti- 
vators often fail in their attempts to grow certain 
plants from want of attention to this essential 
point. Thus, most Alpine plants, which enjoy 
an unbroken rest under the snow for several 
months, are very difficult of culture in our mild 
and varying winters. Messrs. Balfour and Ba- 
bington, whilst recently exploring the lofty moun- 
tains of Harris, found the climate to be so 
modified by the vicinity of the great Atlantic 
Ocean, that, notwithstanding their northern lati- 
tude (68°), many of the species inhabiting the 
Highland districts of Scotland were wholly 
wanting, and the few which they saw were con- 
fined to the coldest and most exposed spots. 
From the same cause many plants grow there 
which are not known to grow in so northern a 
latitude in Britain. 


The winter of 1850 — 51 was ushered in by 
some heavy falls of snow, with which I filled my 
Alpine case, giving the plants a perfect rest of 
three or four months, and with a most satisfactory 
result — the Primula marginata, Linrusa horeaUs^ 
and other species, flowering much finer than 
usual. Many of these beautiful plants would, I 
am convinced, succeed well, if kept for five or six 
months in an ice-house. 

Plants in hot countries have their periods of 
rest in the dry season. In Egypt the blue water- 
lily obtains rest in a curious way. Mr. Traille, 
the gardener of Ibrahim Pacha, informed me that 
this plant abounds in several of the canals at 
Alexandria, which at certain seasons become dry; 
and the beds of these canals, which quickly 
become burnt as hard as bricks by the action of 
the sun, are then used as carriage roads. When 
the water is again admitted, the plant resumes its 
growth with redoubled vigour. 

On the sandy flats at the Cape of Good Hope 
the heat is so great, that Sir J. F. W„ Herschel, 
upon one occasion, cooked a mutton-chop on the 
surface of the burnt soil ;* and this extreme heat, 
coupled with intensity of light, will readily account 

* In the Kegio calida-sicca of Brazil, the forests that exist have 
seldom that fulness and lofty growth of those on the coast, and, during 
the dry months, the leaves are deciduous, «n which account they are 


for the uncertainty which attends the growth and 
flowering of Cape bulbs in this country. 

There are some countries in which there are 
two fruit-bearing seasons; where the vine, un- 
able to obtain rest, either from the cold of 
winter, or the dry heat of summer, is made to 
bear a second crop of fruit — the ingenuity of 
man, overcoming obstacles apparently insur- 
mountable. I am indebted to one, who, whilst 
he is dedicating his life to the holy cause in which 
he is engaged, does not, at the same time, dis- 
dain (to use the quaint but expressive language 
of Sir Thomas Browne), " to suck divinity from 
the flowers of nature" — I mean the Bishop of 
Ceylon, for a knowledge of the fact that at 
Jafna, the artificial hybernation of the vine, 
necessary in a tropical country, is produced by 
laying the roots bare to the depth of two feet, for 
four or five days, by which time all the leaves are 
shed. This is done with those that- have borne 
fruit during the first of the two fruiting seasons. 
They are then pruned, covered again with ma- 
nure, and constantly watered. In this way the 
vine is brought to bear fruit, small in size, but 

called, in the language of the Brazils, light-forests CCaa-tingaJ, 
What is extraordinary, if no rain falls, they can remain for many 
years without producing foliage; but when at last the showers 
descend, in the course of forty-eight hours they are clothed in the 
most delicate and tender green. 


of good flavour. In our own country we often 
witness the effects produced by continuous heat 
m long summers. The rest thus obtained causes 
many plants to flower on the recurrence of au- 
tumnal rains, which would not otherwise have 
flowered until the ensuing spring — as the la- 
burnum and many others. 

To suit all the varied conditions to which I 
have thus briefly alluded, and under which plants 
have been found to exist, they have been formed 
of different structures and constitutions, to flt 
them for the stations they severally hold in 
creation, so that almost every different region of 
the globe is characterized by peculiar forms of 
vegetation, dependent upon climatal differences ; 
and thus a practised botanical eye can, with 
certainty, in almost all cases, predict the capa- 
bilities of any previously unknown country, by 
an inspection of the plants which it produces. It 
were much to be wished that those upon whom 
the welfare of thousands of their starving emi- 
grant countrymen depends, possessed a little 
more of this most useful knowledge. 

But in order to give a clearer idea of the close 
connexion existing between vegetation and climate, 
let us take one or two examples from Nature. 
We shall find some plants restricted to certain 
situations, whilst others have a wide range, or 


greater powers of adaptation. It is not, perhaps, 
going too far to assert, that no two plants are 
alike in this particular, or, in other words, that 
the constitution of every individual plant is dif- 
ferent ; and nothing would be more delusive than 
to imagine, that because two plants are found 
associated in a state of nature, the same treat- 
ment would be applicable to both, or that both 
would be equally amenable to culture. Thus 
the Hymenophyllum and the common London 
pride {Saxifraga umbrosa) are found growing to- 
gether in rocks on the shores of the Lake of 
Killamey ; the one is so difficult of culture tjiat 
the Irish have a saying, " that he who can grow 
the fairy fern is bom to good fortune," whilst 
the Saxifrage, on the contrary, will grow in any 
situation, and will last for years, without the 
sUghtest attention, under the most depressing in- 

We have another remarkable example in the 
auricula, which is only found indigenous in the 
Alps, growing in company with plants, mostly 
very difficult of culture. 

The Cerasus virginiana affords an interesting 
illustration of the effects of climate upon vegeta- 
tion: in the southern states of America it is a 
noble tree, attaining one himdred feet in height ; 
in the sandy plains of the Saskatchawan it does 


not exceed twenty feet ; and at its northern limit, 
the great Slave Lake, in lat. 62°, it is reduced to 
a shrub of five feet. Again, in ascending a lofty 
mountain in tropical regions, we have exhibited 
to our admiring gaze the difierent forms of vege- 
tation which are to be seen in all countries, from 
the bananas, the palms, bamboos, &c., of the 
plains, to the oaks, beeches, &c., of temperate 
climes, and the berry-bearing plants of Arctic 
regions up to the red snow. But we need neither 
travel to America, nor ascend mountains for in- 
stances of this sort; we have them everywhere 
about us. I have gathered on the chalky borders 
of a wood in Kent, perfect specimens, in full 
flower, of Erythrcea centaurium, consisting of one 
or two pairs of most minute leaves, with one soli- 
tary flower; these were growing on the bare 
chalk, fully exposed to the sun. By tracing the 
plant towards, and in, the wood, I found it gra- 
dually increasing in size, until its full develop- 
ment was attained in the open parts of the wood, 
where it became a glorious plant, four or five 
feet in elevation, and covered with himdreds of 
flowers. Let us pause here a moment and reflect 
deeply on the wonders around us. We shall find 
a continued succession of beauties throughout 
the year, beginning with the primrose, the violet, 
and the anemone; these giving place to the or- 


chises, and these again to the mulleins, camf)a- 
nulas, and various other plants, all in their turn 
delighting the eye, and gladdening the heart ; nor 
is the winter season devoid of interest ; the sur- 
face of the ground, and every decaying leaf and 
twig, are inhabited by a world of microscopic 
beauties. All these have maintained their ground 
without interfering with each other, year after 
year, and generation after generation. The satne 
page in the great Book of Nature, which filled the 
mind of Ray with the wisdom of God in creation, 
lies open to our view. **A11 these things live 
for ever for all men, and they are all obedient. 
All things are double one against another, and 
He hath made nothing imperfect. One thing 
establisheth the good of another, and who shall 
be filled with beholding His glory ? " Can man, 
with all his boasted wisdom, realize such a scene 
as I have just attempted to depict ? He cannot ; 
he would feel that, " when he hath done, then he 
beginneth, and when he leaveth off, then he shall 
be doubtful." 

I have dwelt at some length on the natural 
conditions of plants, convinced of the paramoimt 
importance of a knowledge of these conditions to 
all cultivators of plants, and cannot do better 
than sum up in the words of a great philosopher 
of the present day. 


" If the laws of Nature, on the one hand, are 
invincible opponents, on the other, they are irre- 
sistible auxiliaries; and it will not be amiss if 
we regard them in each of these characters, and 
consider the great importance of them to man- 
kind: — 

" Firstly. In showing us how to avoid attempt- 
ing impossibilities. 

*' Secondly. In securing us from important mis- 
takes in attempting what is in itself possible, by 
means either inadequate, or actually opposed to 
the ends in view. 

" Thirdly. In enabling us to accomplish our 
ends in the easiest, shortest, most economical, and 
most effectual manner. 

" Fourthly. In inducing us to attempt, and en- 
abling us to accomplish objects, which, but for 
such knowledge, we should never have thought of 
undertaking." — Herschel. 

r- .^ ^^ ^^ ."•'^ ' 





As well might com as verse in cities grow ; 
In yain the thankless glebe we plough and sow: 
Against th' nnnatnral soil in vain we strive ; 
Tis not a ground in which these plants will thrive. 





Amonc the causes tending to depress vegeta- 
tion in large towns, mining districts, &c,, may be 
enumerated, deJtcieTicy of light, and of tttoUture, 
the fuUginous matter with which the atmosphere 
is always more or less loaded, and the presence of 
noxious gases. 

Enough has been said upon the all-important 
agency of light in the functions of the vegetable 
system, to convince us that we shall not err in 


attributing a portion of the depressing effects 
upon some plants to deficiency of light ; but that 
this cannot be the sole cause is clear from the 
impossibility of growing such plants as ferns 
and mosses, which can, in any part of London, 
obtain as much light as they require. 

Want of sufficient moisture, again, cannot be 
the sole cause, as long before I began to grow 
plants in closed cases, my plants in the open air, 
although constantly supplied with moisture, all 
perished ; and if we examine old walls in Lon- 
don, which, from some cause, are constantly wet, 
although we find vegetation, that vegetation is 
not healthy. The conditions for mosses may be 
so far fulfilled as to allow of the growth of their 
leaves; and we shall everywhere see, on such 
walls, the silvery tips, when not obscured by soot, 
of Bryum argenteum; but we must go two or 
three miles out of London before we find it in 
fructification. We may, it is true, occasionally 
find the Funaria hygrometrica,* but this is an 
exception to the general rule. 

• The Funaria hygrormtrxca is a remarkable moss, differinff widely 
in its powers of adaptation, and consequently in its greater geo- 
graphical range, from most of its congeners. It appears to delight as 
much in heat, as other mosses in cold. There is nothing in its 
structure to lead us to infer such a difference of constitution. Most 
mosses are confined within narrow limits, and will not fructify but 
under certain conditions. The Funaria is found in fruit not only in 


We must, therefore, look for another and more 
efficient cause of depression, and this, I believe, 
is to be found in the sooty particles diffused 
through the air, interfering with the respiratory- 
functions of the leaves. It is well known, that, 
cceteris paribus, plants with smooth leaves suffer 
less in London than those which have leaves that 
are hairy or covered with viscid or resinous secre- 
tions. Hence the miserable appearance of most 
of the coniferce in London, although these are 
plants, many species of which flourish in the 
driest sands. 

In my letter to Sir W. J. Hooker, published 
in the " Companion to the Botanical Magazine " 
for May 1836, I expressed an opinion that the 
depressing influence of the air of large towns 
upon vegetation depended almost entirely upon 
the fuliginous matter with which such an atmo- 
sphere is impregnated, and which produces similar 
effects upon the leaves of plants as upon the 
lungs of animals. This opinion has been ques- 
tioned by the late Mr. Ellis, in an admirable 

London, but in every brick-field around it; in Loddiges' OrcHideous 
house, and in my own large fern-house, where the temperature 
frequently rises to 120°; and I possess specimens in my herbarium 
from all parts of the world — from Egypt, the Cape of Good Hope, the 
East and West Indies, New Zealand, New Holland, &c. The 
peristome of this moss is one of our most beautiful microscopic 


paper published in the " Gardener's Magazine " 
for September 1839, and as the subject is one 
of great importance, it being impossible to apply 
remedies without knowing the nature of the 
disease, I shall discuss it at some length, Mr. 
Ellis says that the real mode in which such an 
atmosphere proves injurious to vegetation was 
first shown by the experiments of Drs. Turner 
and Christison, which were published in No. 
XCIII of the " Edinburgh Medical and Sur- 
gical Journal." They ascertained that it is not 
simply to the diffusion of fuliginous matter 
through the air, but to the presence of sul- 
phurous acid gas, generated in the combustion 
of coal, that the mischief is to be ascribed. 
When added to common air in the proportion of 
1 -9000th or 1 -10,000th part, that gas sensibly 
affected the leaves of growing plants in ten or 
twelve hours, and killed them in forty-eight 
hours or less. The effects of hydrochloric or 
muriatic acid gas were still more powerful, it 
being found that the tenth part of a cubic 
inch, in 20,000 volumes of air, manifested its 
action in a few hours, and entirely destroyed the 
plant in two days. Both these gases acted on 
the leaves, affecting more or less their colour, 
and withering or crisping their texture, so that 
a gentle touch caused their separation from the 


foot-stalk ; and both exerted this injurious ope- 
ration, when present in such minute proportions 
as to be wholly inappreciable by the animal 

." After having suffered much injury from these 
acid gases, the plants, if removed in time, will 
recover, but with the loss of their leaves. Hence, 
in vegetation carried on in smoky atmospheres, 
the plants are rarely killed altogether, but merely 
blighted for a season. Accordingly, in spring, 
vegetation recommences with its accustomed lux- 
uriance, and as in many situations there is, at 
that season, and during the summer, a consider- 
able diminution in the number of coal fires, 
there will be a proportionate decrease in the 
production of sulphurous acid gas ; and, con- 
sequently, less injury will be done to plants 
during that season. In winter, too, when coal 
fires mostly abound, and gas is most abundantly 
generated, deciduous plants are protected from 
its noxious operation by suspension of their ve- 
getating powers ; but the leaves of evergreens, 
which continue to grow through that season, 
are constantly exposed to its action when present 
in its greatest intensity. Accordingly, in many 
of the suburban districts round London, espe- 
cially in the course of the river where new manu- 
factories are constantly rising up, the atmo- 



sphere is so highly charged with noxious matters, 
that many deciduous plants and almost all ever- 
greens cease to flourish, or exhibit only a sickly 

« In an interesting biographical sketch of his 
lamented friend, Dr, Turner, Professor Chris- 
tison confirms, by subsequent experience, the 
opinion formerly given respecting the noxious 
operation of the sulphurous or muriatic acid 
gas upon plants. He describes their action as 
so energetic, that, in the course of two days, the 
whole vegetation of various species of plants 
may be destroyed by quantities so minute as to 
be altogether inappreciable by the senses. On 
two occasions he was able to trace the identical 
effects of the same kind of works (the black ash 
manufactory) on the great scale, which his friends 
and himself witnessed in their researches. In 
one instance, the devastation committed was 
enormous, vegetation being, for the most part, 
miserably stunted, or altogether blasted, to a 
distance of fully a third of a mile from the works, 
in the prevailing direction of the wind. Against 
the evils arising from such a vitiated atmosphere, 
the plan of Mr. Ward provides effectual protec- 
tion, as the success of his own establishment 
amply demonstrates." 

I believe, that there does not generally exist 


in the atmosphere o£ London such a proportion of 
noxious gases as sensibly to affect vegetation, since 
we find geraniums and many other plants growing 
well without crisping or curling of their leaves, 
in the windows of shops and small houses, pro- 
vided care be taken to keep the plants clean and 
free from soot. In the closed cases direct con- 
tact with any current of noxious gases is pre- 
vented, and the action of the law which regulates 
the diffusion of gases prevents the admission of 
such quantities of any noxious gas as might be 
injurious to the plants. 

As this is a subject of the highest importance 
to the well-being of everything that has life, 
whether vegetable or animal, it will be well 
to give a full explanation of the above men- 
tioned diffusion law — a law constantly in opera- 
tion under all circumstances, and without the 
beneficent operation of which vegetable as well as 
animal life would suffer greatly in large towns, 
and a cellar in St. Giles' would quickly become 
a grotto del cane* 

" If we take two vessels, and fill one with car- 
bonic acid gas, and the other with hydrogen 
(their weights respectively being as twenty-two to 
one), and then place the light gas perpendicularly 
over the other, effecting a communication between 

the vessels by means of a tube not larger in 

c 2 


diameter than a human hair, the two gases will 
immediately begin to mix, and after a short in- 
terval will be found equally distributed between 
both vessels. If the upper vessel be filled with 
oxygen, nitrogen, or any other gas, the same 
phenomena will ensue ; the gases will be found, 
after a short time, to be in a state of mixture, 
and at last there will be equal portions of each 
in both vessels. The permeability of animal 
membranes by gases has been fully proved by the 
researches of Drs. Faust and Mitchell. It fully 
appears from their experiments that animal mem- 
branes, both in the living and dead subject, both 
in and out of the body, are freely penetrated by 
gaseous matter; that the phenomena of endos- 
mose and exosmose, observed in liquids by Du- 
trochet, are likewise exhibited by gases. If a 
glass full of carbonic acid be closed by an animal 
membrane, or sheet of caoutchouc, and be then 
exposed to the atmosphere, a portion of air will 
pass into the glass and some of the confined gas 
escape from it ; and if the experiment be reversed 
by confining air in the glass, which is then placed 
in an atmosphere of carbonic acid, the latter 
passes in and the former out of the glass. Similar 
phenomena ensue with other gases ; so that when 
any two gases are separated by a membrane, both 
of them pass through the partition. But though 


all gases pass through membranous septa, they 
differ remarkably in the relative rapidity of trans- 
mission. Thus, while a volume of carbonic acid 
requires five and a half minutes to pass through 
a membrane, the same volume of oxygen requires 
one hundred and thirteen, and a much greater 
time is required for nitrogen. Hence, when a 
bladder full of air is surrounded by carbonic acid, 
the latter enters faster than the former escapes, 
and the bladder bursts ; but on reversing the con- 
ditions of the experiment, the bladder becomes 
flaccid, because the carbonic acid within passes 
out more rapidly than the exterior air enters. 
The transmission of gases in some of th^se expe- 
riments takes place in opposition to a pressure 
equal to several atmospheres." 

To conclude this curious subject, SpaUanzani 
proved that some animals possessed of lungs, — 
such as serpents, lizards, and frogs, — produce the 
same changes on the air by means of their skin, 
as by their proper respiratory organs; and Dr. 
Edwards, in a series of masterly experiments, 
has shown that this function compensates so fully 
for the want of respiration by the lungs, as to 
enable these animals, in the winter season, to live 
for an almost unlimited period under the surface 
of the water. 

" It is scarcely possible," says Professor Daniel, 


** duly to appreciate, in the vast economy of ter- 
restrial adaptations, the importance of this me- 
chanism, by which gases and vapours rapidly 
permeate each other's bulks, and become equally 
diffused. The atmosphere which surrounds the 
globe consists of a mixture of several aeriform 
fluids, in certain fixed proportions, upon the 
proper maintenance of which, by measure and by 
weight, the welfare of the whole organic creation 
depends. The processes of respiration and of 
combustion are perpetually tending to the de- 
struction of the vital air, and the substitution of 
another which is a deadly poison to animal life ; 
and yet, by the simple means which we have 
described, the poisonous air is not allowed to 
accumulate, but diffuses itself instantly through 
surrounding space, while the vital gas rushes, by 
a counter tendency, to supply the deficiency 
which the local consumption has created. Hence 
the invariable uniformity of this mixture, which 
is one of the most surprising phenomena in a 
system where all is admirable. The most accu- 
rate examination has been made of air which has 
been taken from localities the most opposed to 
each other in all the circumstances which can be 
conceived to affect its purity; by means of a 
balloon, from a height of 22,000 feet above the 
level of the sea ; from the surface of the ocean ; 


from tlie suininit of Mont Blanc ; from the heart 
of the moat crowded districts of the most popu- 
lous cities; from within the polar circle; and 
irom the equator; and no difference has been 
detected in the proportions of its principal 





c 5 

Nature does not allow herself to be forced or drawn. You must 
follow her, not she you. — Paracelsus. 

Homo, Naturae minister et interpres, tantum £Eu:it et intelligit 
quantum de Naturae ordine re vel mente conserraTerit; nee amplins 
scit aut potest. — Bacon. 

The power of man over Nature is limited only by the one condition, 
that it must be exercised in conformity with the laws of Nature. — 


The science of Botany, in consequence of the 
peiusal of the works of the immortal Linnseus, 
had been my recreation from my youth up, and 
the earliest object of my ambition was to possess 
an old wall covered with ferns and mosses. To 


obtain this end, I built up some rock-work 
in the yard at the back of my house, and placed 
a perforated pipe at the top, from which water 
trickled on the plants beneath ; these consisted 
of Polypodium vulgare, Lomaria Spicanty LdstrtBa 
dilatata, L. FiUx mas^ Athyrium FiUx fomina^ 
Asplenium Trichomanes and a few other ferns, 
and several mosses procured from the woods in 
the neighbourhood of London, together with 
primroses, wood -sorrel, &c. In consequence, 
however, of the volumes of smoke issuing from 
surrounding manufactories, my plants soon began 
to decline, and ultimately perished, all my endea- 
vours to keep them alive proving fruitless. 

When the attempt had been given up in 
despair, a fresh impetus was given to my pursuits, 
and I was led to reflect a little more deeply upon 
the subject, in consequence of a simple incident 
which occurred in the summer of 1829. I had 
buried the chrysalis of a sphinx in some moist 
mould contained in a wide-mouthed glass bottle, 
covered with a lid. In watching the bottle from 
day to day, I observed that the moisture which, 
during the heat of the day arose from the mould, 
condensed on the surface of the glass, and re- 
turned whence it came; thus keeping the earth 
always in, the same degree of humidity. About 
a week prior to the final change of the iusect. 


a seedling fern and a grass made their appearance 
on the surface of the mould, 

I could not but be struck with the circum- 
stance of one of that very tribe of plants which I 
had for years fruitlessly attempted to cultivate, 
coming up sponte sua in such a situation, and 
asked myself seriously what were the conditions 
necessary for its well-being ? To this the reply 
was — a moist atmosphere free from soot or other 
extraneous particles ; Ught; heat; moisture; periods 
of rest; and change of air» All these my plant 
had ; the circulation of air being obtained by the 
diffusion law already described. 

Thus, then, all the conditions requisite for the 
growth of my fern were apparently fulfilled, and 
it remained only to test the fact by experiment. 
I placed the bottle outside the window of my 
study, a room with a northern aspect, and to my 
great delight the plants continued to thrive. They 
turned out to be L. Filix mas and the Poa annua. 
They required no attention of any kind, and 
there they remained for nearly four years, the 
grass once flowering, and the fern producing 
three or four fronds annually. At the end of 
this time they accidentally perished, during my 
absence from home, in consequence of the rusting 
of the lid, and the consequent too free admission 
of rain water. Long before this occurred, how- 


ever, I procured for the purpose of experiment 
some plants of Trichomanes and Hymenophyllum, 
and perhaps the most instructive way in which I 
can commimicate the results of my experiments 
will be to select a few out of numberless experi- 
ments, in the order in which they occurred. To 
commence with — 

1. Trichomanes radicans or speciosum. — I was 
induced to commence with this, the most lovely 
of our cellular plants, in consequence of its being 
the most intractable under ordinary methods of 
culture — of its being, in fact, the opprobium hoT" 
tulanorum, Loddiges, who had it repeatedly, 
never could keep it alive ; and Baron Fischer, the 
superintendent of the botanical establishments 
of the Emperor of Russia, when he saw the plant 
growing in one of my cases, took off his hat, 
made a low bow to it, and said, " You have been 
my master all the days of my life." Whence 
then arises the great difficulty of cultivating this 
plant? It is simply owing to the occasional 
dryness of the atmosphere, and the presence of 
adventitious matters. Place the plant in one of 
my cases, where it has a constantly pure and 
humid atmosphere, and it will grow as well in 
the most smoky parts of London, as on the rocks 
at Kallamey, or the laurel forests of Teneriffe — 

** Miraturque novas frondes." 


This plant lived for about four years in a wide- 
mouthed bottle, covered with oiled silk, during 
which time it required no water, but having out- 
grown its narrow bounds it was removed to some 
rock-work in my largest fern-house, covered with 
a bell-glass, and occasionally watered. Here it 
produced fronds fifteen inches in height by seven 
or eight in breadth, one-fourth larger than native 
specimens, either from Killamey, or elsewhere. 
I have lately seen specimens of this beautiful 
plant in St. Paul's Church Yard, Broad Street 
Buildings, and other places in London, which are 
quite equal to any I have seen in Ireland, and 
one fine bushy plant at Kensington, now contain- 
ing eighteen or twenty fronds, which was sent by 
post from Dublin two years since, and then con- 
sisted of a small portion of rhizome with three 
fronds only. 

The finest specimen, however, of Trichomanes 
in cultivation, of which I have any cognizance, is 
one in the possession of R. Callwell, Esq., of 
Dublin, whose account is so interesting that I 
copy it verbatim : — 

Dublin, Zrd August, 1852. 

My dear Sir, 

At the request of our mutual and very 
esteemed friend. Dr. Wm. Harvey, I have the 


pleasure of sending you some particulars of the 
plant of Trichomanes in my possession. 

In the spring of 1843, I received a small por- 
tion of the rhizome, about five or six inches long, 
with one frond partially developed, and one other 
just appearing, which I placed in a bell-glass 
about fifteen inches diameter. In December, 
1846, it quite filled the glass, and in that month 

1 removed it into a case 3 feet 10 inches by 

2 feet 6 inches, and 3 feet 4 inches in height — 
the space under this, about twelve inches in 
depth, was filled with upturned flower-pots, 
charcoal, cocoa-nut husks, and light earth and 
peat. The plant now nearly fills this case. It 
is difficult to count the fronds accurately, but, as 
nearly as I can count them, they number two 
hundred and thirty or upwards, of fully-developed 
fronds; the length of the fully-opened fronds 
being from fourteen to twenty and a-half inches, 
taldng the length from the end of the stem, 
where it starts from the rhizome, to the point 
of the frond. When removing it to the present 
case, in Dec. 1846, I cut away five or six &onds 
which had been injured by contact with the 
glass, but since that time not one of the fronds 
then existing, nor any of those since formed, 
have shown any symptoms of decay. As to the 
general treatment, having originally provided well 


for perfect drainage, I carefully sprinkle the sur- 
face of the fronds with water once or twice a 
week in summer, and less frequently in winter, 
and keep the door of the case (which is very 
close) always shut, the drainage -valve underneath 
always open. The case stands in a vestibule 
with nearly west aspect, quite sheltered from 
the south by the house, which is much higher 
than the vestibule. I strongly think that much 
of my success is due to the fact that the light 
is much subdued by shining through coloured 
glass windows (the colour is chiefly brown and 
orange). The general appearance of the plant is 
quite natural, the fronds bending down mostly. 
About three years ago, I placed, for experiment, 
a small portion of the rhizome with one open 
frond, on a block, and hung it up in the case. 
It has now nineteen expanded fronds, varying 
from nine to twelve inches in length, the rhizome 
having crept all round the block, and throwing 
down abundance of roots five or six inches long. 
I have not found any other fern to thrive, or 
even to live, in this case, except Asplenium 
marinmriy which seems to like the situation toler- 
ably. I have even tried Hymenophyllum Tun* 
higense and Wilsoni, neither of which lived past 
one year. The plant has never shown the least 
approach towards producing seeds, although I 


have seen many plants taken from the same 
locality (Turk's Waterfall, Co. Kerry), which 
have fructified profusely. 

I remain, my dear Sir, 

Yours very respectfully, 

Rob. Callwell. 

The above communication suggests one or two 
reflections of practical application. We see, first, 
how possible it is to grow some plants in closed 
cases, in even more than their native luxuriance. 
I believe it would be very difficult, if not im- 
possible, to find such a patch of Trichomanes as 
is above described, either in Ireland or in any 
part of the world. The next reflection is, that, 
in obedience to well-known physiological laws, 
whenever the foliage of a plant is developed to a 
greater extent than usual, the tendency to pro- 
duce fruit becomes proportionally diminished, 
and sometimes, as in the above instance, ceases 
altogether — not one frond out of the two hundred 
and thirty fructifying. It would be interesting 
to watch the effect of exposure to stronger 
light, and of a diminished supply of water. We 
further learn that ferns, like other plants, vary 
much as to their natural states, and that, in 
order to grow even the British ferns in one case, 
it will be necessary to pay attention to their 



respective wants; and, before I proceed in my 
narrative, I may as well describe how this is to 
be ejflfected. 

House in which all the British ferns may be 
grown : — 

'* Where the tall foxglove peeps into the brook. 
And royal ferns adorn each watery nook.** 

In order to grow all our ferns under one roof, 
it would, of course, be necessary to fulfil their 
varying conditions of growth, and this might be 
easily effected by building a model of some an- 
tique ruin, or by imitating some moimtainous 
ravine, or other bit of natural scenery with water 
trickling down from the elevated portion of the 
rock, and flowing out of the house in a continuous 
stream at the bottom. In such a house, without 
any artificial heat, our ferns would attain a luxu- 
riant growth, unimaginable by those who know 
them only under ordinary circumstances. Each 
fern could be suppUed with a proper base of earth 
or rock, and each could have the amount of light 
most suited to its fullest development. The 
Trichomanes might there revel on its Turk rock, 
and gladden the eyes of the beholder with its 
lovely fronds spangled with iridescent rain-drops : 
at the base of the rock and extending to the mar- 
gins of the central brook, the two species of ffy- 
menophylluniy with Blecknum boreale^ Lastrcea 


Theh/pteris, and the lovely lady-fern would luxu- 
riate ; whilst on the borders of the little brook 
or in the centre of the water, the royal Osmunda 
would raise itself to the height of ten or twelve 
feet, as if conscious of its sovereignty, and worthy 
of the admiration elicited from Sir Walter Scott, 
when visiting the Lakes of Killamey. One or 
two chalk or sandstone caves might be lined in- 
ternally with the Asplenium marinum^ its massive 
dark green and glossy leaves beautifully contrast^ 
ing with the light and elegant foliage of the 
maidenhair growing on the top. In the more 
elevated portions, and fully exposed to light, 
Allosorus crispus^ Cistopteris fragilis, and the 
other species and varieties would thrive (with 
the exception of the rare Cistopteris montana, 
which should be planted in reach of the spray), 
as would Asplenium septentrionale, and the Wood" 
siasi whilst every chink and crevice might be 
occupied with Polypodium Dryopteris, P. calca- 
reum, P. Phegopteris^ Asplenium Trichomanesy Adi- 
antum nigrum^ lanciolatum, Sfc. Such a house 
might be made very useful in determining those 
varieties of ferns which depend upon varying 
climatal differences, and in limiting the multi- 
plication of species which now appears to be 
increasing rather too rapidly* A great number 
of the more beautiful or rare British flowering 


plants might be intermixed with the ferns, and 
would add greatly to the effect of the whole, 
taking especial care that each should have the 
amount of light and moisture which it obtains in 
its natural state. 

So much for British ferns and plants ; but the 
time will most assuredly come when those citizens 
of London who now recreate and refresh their 
souls with such a house as is above described, will 
raise their desires to the possession of equally 
beautiful, but much more noble and majestic 
forms: I mean, particularly, those of the Tree 
ferns. We are told by Humboldt, that between 
the Tropics, on the declivities of the Cordilleras, 
the proper zone of the Tree ferns is between 
3200 and 5330 feet above the level of the sea. In 
South America and the Mexican Highlands, they 
seldom descend lower than 1200 feet. The mean 
temperature of this happy zone is between 70*2 
and 64'6 Fahr. This region enters the lowest 
stratum of clouds, or that which floats next 
above the sea and the plains ; and hence, besides 
great equality of temperature, it enjoys, unin- 
terruptedly, a high degree of humidity. The 
conditions of mild temperature and an atmosphere 
nearly saturated with vapour, are fulfilled on the 
declivities of the mountains in the valleys of the 
Andes, and, above all, in the mild and humid 


atmosphere of the Southern hemisphere, where 
arborescent ferns extend, not only to New Zea- 
land and Van Dieman's Land, but even to the 
Straits of Magellan, and to Campbell Islands, or 
to a latitude almost corresponding to that of 
Berlin in the Northern hemisphere. 

Nothing would be easier than to fulfil the above 
conditions in the court-yards of London. For 
the growth of ferns generally, it would, most pro- 
bably, be advantageous to glaze the houses with 
the tinted glass recommended by Mr. Hunt, and 
used in the great Palm-house at Kew. It might 
likewise be requisite to use blinds in hot weather. 
In any such large house, filled with British or 
Tropical forms of vegetation, fish and birds, and 
other animals, might be introduced to enliven the 

To return to tlneTrichomanes : the mode of plant- 
ing, which I had previously adopted, had been to 
secure it firmly on sandstone or other porous 
stone (upon pieces of which it delights to grow), 
and to fill the interspaces with about equal por- 
tions of white sand and peat earth. I should now, 
however, follow the plan recommended by Mr. 
Callwell. The species of Hymenophyllum, upon 
which I next experimented, require to be treated 
in a similar manner, and to be liberally supplied 
with water. Neither the Trichomanes nor the 


Hymenophylla require much sun. This will be 
a fitting place to make mention of a small but 
most interesting bottle which I received in Oc- 
tober 1837, from Mr. Newman, superintendent 
of the Botanic Garden in the Mauritius. The 
bottle was filled with two or three specimens of 
a small species of Gratiola, and of Cotala, and 
lightly covered with painted canvas. The plants 
were in full flower. I placed them in a window 
with a southern aspect : they remained in vigour 
for six or seven weeks, when they successively 
declined and perished without ripening any seed, 
in consequence of the too great humidity of the 
soil. Before this took place, I observed, as in my 
first experiment, several seedling ferns making 
their appearance between the mould and the side 
of the glass, and therefore allowed the bottle to 
remain in the same situation, which it has occu- 
pied to the present time, the covers having been 
twice renewed in consequence of decay. It is 
now a very interesting object. The upper part is 
filled with fronds of two species of Adiantum, and 
the lateral surface of the mould is coated with 
seedling ferns in all stages. 

We may learn a few useful lessons from this 
little bottle. We see how abundant the seeds of 
ferns are, and how easy it would be to obtain 
many species from distant countries by collecting 


from various localities a handful of the surface 
mould, and, at any convenient season, placing 
this in a situation favourable for their growth. 
To those cavillers, who are continually question- 
ing me as to the utility of ferns in creation, I 
answer that one of the useful purposes which they 
serve, in common with other cellular plants, is 
that of providing mould in situations where plants 
of a higher order could not at first grow; and 
this is effected in a twofold manner — by the de- 
cay of their fronds, and the action of their roots. 
Mr. Webster, in his account of the voyage of 
the " Chanticleer," states, that in the course of 
his ramble in the Island of St. Catherine, when 
gathering ferns, he was particularly struck by 
observing that each plant had formed for itself a 
bed of fine mould, several inches in depth and 
extent, whilst beyond the circle of its own imme- 
diate growth was naked rock : and this appeared 
so general that he could not help attributing the 
extraordinary circumstance to the disintegrating 
power of their fibrous roots, which penetrated 
every crevice of the rock, and by expanding in 
growth, appeared to split it into the smallest 
fragments.* Ferns, likewise, are of the greatest 

* The Opuntia^ or prickly pear, when planted in fresh fields of 
lava, which, in the ordinary course of nature — ue, by the successive 
growth and decay of lichens, mosses, and other cellular plants, would 
require a thousand years to become fertile, renders them capable of 


service to man, affording him in various countries 
supplies of food in time of need, and giving pro- 
tection to numberless animals upon which man 
subsists. Nor is this all— I would fain hope that 
the words of the poet will not apply to any of my 
readers — 

*' In vain, through every changeful year, 
Bid Nature lead him as before, 
The primrose on the river^s brim, 
A yellow primrose was to him, 
And it was nothing more." 

In tropical countries the arborescent ferns are 
the most glorious objects in the vegetable king- 
dom ; and in temperate climes that man is little 
to be envied who cannot take delight in the 
phoenix-like beauty thrown over dead and decay- 
ing works of Nature and Art by these lovely 
forms, nor be led by these visible things of crea- 
tion to adore the invisible wisdom and admirable 
workmanship of Almighty God. 

But to return from this digression. Having 
determined the complete success of this mode 
upon more than a hundred species of ferns, and 

being converted into vineyards in the course of thirty or forty; and 
this by the comminuting action of its roots. Succulent plants are 
admirably adapted for such an office in hot and dry countries, where 
rain is of un&equent occurrence, in consequence of their structure, 
which enables them to take in very readily moisture from dews or 
rain, but prevents evaporation during long-continued droughts. 



my ideas having a little expanded, I built a small 
house about eight feet square, outside one of my 
staircase-windows, facing the north ; and proceed- 
ing from ferns to those plants with which they 
are associated, filled it with a mixed vegetation. 
This was called — 

The Tintern Abbey House^^ from its containing 
in the centre a small model, built in pumice and 
Bath stone, of the west window of Tintern Abbey. 
The sides were built up with rock work to the 
height of about five feet, and a perforated pipe 
passed round the top of the house, by means of 
which I could rain upon the plants at pleasure. 
In the middle of summer the sun shone into this 
house for about an hour early in the morning, 
and about the same time in the evening, but not 
at all during the winter. There was no artificial 
heat. I planted in it about fifty species of British, 
North American, and other hardy ferns — one or 
two LycopodiumSy and the following fiowering 
plants, viz. Linrusa horealis^ OxaUs acetosella. 
Primula vulgaris. Digitalis purpurea, Cardamine 
flexuosa, Lonicera periclymenuniy Meconopsis Cam^ 
brica, Geranium Robertianum v.jfl, albo, Dentaria 
bulbiferay Paris quadrifoUa, Mimulus moscAatus, 
Linaria Cymballaria, Convallaria multiflora, C, 
Polygonatum, JLamium maculatum, and several 

• Vide Frontispiece. 


others. All these flowered well, but the atmo- 
sphere was too moist, and there was too little sun 
for them to ripen seed, with the exception of the 
MimuhiSy the Oxalis^ and the Cardamine^ which 
latter grew with great luxuriance, and furnished 
throughout the year a most grateful addition to 
the food of a tame Canary-bird. The Rhapis 
Jlabelliformis and Phcsnix dactylifera bore the 
cold during three winters in this house, when I 
was obliged to remove them in consequence of 
their size. A double white Camellia flowered 
well for three successive springs, but was killed 
by the severity of the following winter. In a 
cold house like this, but with an eastern or 
western aspect, so as to admit more solar light, 
I believe that Camellias would thrive luxuriantly 
and be far less likely to suffer from the winter's 
cold. The influence of light in enabling plants 
to withstand cold is far too little attended to, and 
in most cases where it is necessary to protect 
delicate plants in winter, light should be admitted, 
if possible. 

I shall next mention The Alpine Case: — Azalea 
procumbenSf Andromeda tetragona and hypnoides^ 
Primula minima^ P. Helvetica^ Soldanell amantana, 
S. Alpina, Eriophorum jilpinum, and a few others, 
were the contents of my first Alpine case. As 
I thought there would not be sufficient light at 

D 2 


any of my windows, I placed the case on the 
roof of the house, and in the following spring, 
all the plants flowered well except the Andro- 
medas. Forgetting that an Alpine summer is 
not so long as ours, I allowed the plants to 
remain fully exposed to the sun for the whole 
year, owing to which they became so exhausted 
that some died, and but few flowered in the 
ensuing spring. Warned by this, in my succeed- 
ing experiments on this lovely tribe of plants, 
I removed the case, after their flowering, into 
the coldest and most shady place I could find 
until the following season, when they were again 
placed in the sun. In this way they flourished 
better; but it is impossible to do them full 
justice, as we cannot give them the perfect rest 
which they require. 

The Drawing-room case contains the Date 
Palm and the Rhapis flabelliformisy with two or 
three Lycopodiums and Ferns. Several bulbous 
roots are planted in this case annually, as it 
stands in a window with a southern aspect. 
Within, along the roof, runs a perforated bronze 
bar, from which are suspended small pots, 
containing various species of Aloe and Cactus. 
In this way it is easy to grow bog plants and 
succulents in the same case, as these last never 
receive any water but in the state of vapour. 


which is most abundant when they most need it, 
i.e. in the heat of summer. 

The palms have now been enclosed for fifteen 
years, and owing to the confined state of their 
roots, they will continue for very many years 
without outgrowing their narrow bounds. 

Crocuses and Winter Aconites. — Two cases 
were filled with these plants; the one placed 
outside a vrindow with a southern aspect, where 
there was sufficient light, but no artificial heat ; 
the other in a warm room, where the light was 
very deficient. The plants in the former case 
exhibited a perfectly natural appearance, and the 
flowers were abundant and well-coloured ; whilst 
in the latter, the leaves were very long and pale, 
and not a single flower was produced. 

Crocuses with artificial Ught. — A case, fltted 
up precisely as the two preceding, was placed on 
my staircase, close to a gas lamp. The plants 
were covered during the day with a thick dark 
cloth, so as effectually to exclude daylight, and 
as soon as the gas was lighted, the cloth was 
removed. The plants were thus exposed from 
five to eight hours daily to the influence of arti- 
ficial light, accompanied by some increased de- 
gree of heat, while the remainder of the twenty- 
four hours was spent in a state of rest. The 
plants grew well, the leaves not so much drawn 


as those in the warm room, and the colour more 
intense. One root flowered, the colour of the 
flower being blue. 

Case with Spring flowers. — In order to have a 
gay assemblage of flowers, I filled a case about 
three feet by one, with the following plants, viz.. 
Primula Sinensis^ P. nivalis, Scilla Siberica, Cy- 
clamen County Omithogalum Steinbergii^ Gagea 
lutea, Ganymedes pulchellus, and three or four 
varieties of Crocus ^ interspersed with little patches 
of Lycopodium denticulatum. The case was 
placed, about the end of February, outside a 
window with a southern aspect. It is not, I 
believe, possible to see these plants to such 
advantage in any ordinary garden. Here,'undis. 
turbed either by wind or by rain, their flowers 
were developed in the greatest luxuriance, and 
lasted for a much longer period, realising the 
beautiful description of Catullus : — 

Ut flos in septis secretus nascitur hortis, 
Ignotus pecori, nullo contusus aratro, 
Quern mulcent aurae, iirmat sol, educat imber — 
Multi ilium pueri, multse optavere puellae. 

Fairy Roses, when planted in a tub and co- 
vered with a bell-glass of rather smaller diameter 
than the tub, so as to allow the rain which falls 
to run through the mould, without touching the 
plant, succeed most admirably when placed in a 


full southern exposure* They generally flower 
four or five months in every year, the only 
attention which they require, being to prune 
them after each flowering. 

It would be waste of time to detail any more 
of these minor experiments, and I shall, there- 
fore, now describe the largest experimental house 
which I fitted up in Wellclose Square, The 
object which I had in view was to obtain as many 
varied modifications of the natural conditions of 
plants as it was possible to procure in the small 
space to which I was confined. 

The length was twenty-four feet, width twelve, 
and extreme height eleven feet. Over the door 
was this Une :— 

** Ezigaus spatio, variis sed fertilis herbis/* 

which may be thus translated — 

** You scarce upon the borders enter, 
Before you 're in the very centre ; 
Yet, in this narrow compass, we 
Observe a vast variety." 

By building up rock-work to within a foot of 
the glass, and by varying the surface in every 
possible way, very different degrees of heat, light, 
and moisture, were obtained to suit the varying 
wants of the plants. The house was heated in 
winter by means of hot-water pipes which pre- 
served the lower portion during that season at 


a much higher temperature than the upper part : 
the latter, however, had the advantage in the 
height of summer. There was no sunshine from 
the end of October to the end of March. The 
range of the thermometer throughout the year 
in the lowest part was between 45° and 90°, whilst 
at the top it was between 30° and 130°. Thus 
was procured, in a space not exceeding ten feet, 
an insular, and what may be called, an excessive 
climate. In the lower region were planted the 
following Palms : — Phoenix dactyliferUy P. leonen- 
sisy Rhapis Jlabelliformisy R, Sieroizik, a small but 
lovely species from Japan, Chamcerops humilis, 
Seaforthia nobilis, Cocos botryojohora, Corypha 
australisy Latania Borbonica, and one or two 

Of Ferns more than one hundred species were 
planted, and amongst these the Asplenium prce- 
morsum grew remarkably fine, each frond lasting 
three or four years: the CalUpteris elegans (the 
Diplazium Seramporense of gardens), which had 
been sterile at Loddiges' for more than fifty years, 
produced a frond covered with fructification, the 
Didymochlcena pulcherrima, and last, but not least, 
the Trichomanes speciosum. Of Scitamineotis 
plants, of which there were ten or a dozen species, 
the Calathea zebrina was the most conspicuous. 
The Caladium esculentum, and numerous other 


plants which do not require much sun, likewise 
grew in this part of the house. In the upper 
regions were numerous species of AloBy Cacttis, 
Bilbergia, Begonia, &c. Two or three varieties 
of rose likewise flowered here, but neither so well 
nor so freely as in the cases already described. 
In hot summers the sensitive plant {Mimosa 
pudica) flowered freely, as did one or two species 
oi Passion-flower. In the intermediate spaces were 
Disand/ra prostrata, Fuchsias, and various other 
plants. From the roof were suspended numerous 
succulents, and Orchideous epiphytes, but the tem- 
perature fell too low in the winter, and rarely rose 
sufficiently high for these * splendid things without 
a foundation,* so that they seldom flowered. 

In addition to this great variety of living forms, 
there was a large and fine collection of antedi- 
luvian plants, species of Lepidodendron, Cala- 
mites, &c., which, when compared with their 
recent types, the Lycopodia, Equiseta, &c., are 

^ Of aspect that appears 
Beyond the range of vegetative power/* 

Aquarium for fl^h and plants. — I commenced my 
experiments on fish and plants about ten years 
ago, in a large earthen vessel, given to me for the 
purpose by my friend Mr. Alfred White. This 

* The meaning of the name given to them by the South Sea 

Islanders. — WiUiams, 

D 5 


vessel contained twenty gallons of water, and in it 
I placed ten or twelve gold and silver fish, in com- 
pany with several aquatic plants, viz. FaUsneria 
spiralis^ Pontederin crassipeSf Papyrus elegansj 
and Pistia Stratiotea, which plants, by means of 
their vital actions, as had long been well known, 
maintained the purity of the water, and, as in the 
atmosphere, kept up the balance between the 
animal and vegetable respirations. Placed in the 
centre of my fern-house and nearly surrounded 
by rock work (rising five or six feet above the 
margin of the vessel, clothed with Adiantum and 
other lovely ferns, and partially overshadowed 
with the palmate leaves of Corypha australis, the 
plants and fish continued to flourish for years, 
prior to their removal to Clapham in 1848. The 
only enemy I had to contend with was a species 
of Faucheria, which, from its rapid growth, re- 
quired to be kept constantly in check. My 
friend, Mr. Bowerbank, always alive to scientific 
inquiries, followed up these experiments with 
equal success, but substituted stickle-backs and 
minnows for the gold fish.* 

The plants were removed about three years and 
a half ago, from the case just described, to a house 
prepared for them at my new abode at Clapham. 

* Mr. WaringtoD, who subsequently experimented upon the same 
subject, states that he found it necessary to introduce a few snails 
(Limetts stagnalis) to get rid of a slime produced by the decaying 
leaves of Valisneria spiralis. 


Here I possess far greater capabilities for the 
growth of plants than in the old locality where, 
for five winter months, not a ray of solar light 
entered; and, during the summer months, the 
larger portion of sun-light was intercepted. Here 
there is nothing to obstruct the rays of the sun, 
from its rising to its setting ; and, consequently, 
I am enabled to grow and to flower a much larger 
portion of tropical plants than before. This 
house is heated during the winter months by hot 
water pipes, and care is taken that the thermo- 
meter does not fall below 44°, that being the 
minimum temperature which the banana will 
bear. The maximum temperature, without sun, 
is about 85°. The temperature even in the middle 
of December, on a bright sun-shiny day, rises to 
95° or 100°, and in summer to 130°, so that I am 
compelled, occasionally, to use blinds. In this 
house, having an unlimited command of sun, I 
have endeavoured to imitate, in miniature of course, 
a tropical forest.* The ground was prepared for 
the reception of the plants, by first covering the 

* Humboldt has remarked *^ How interesting and instructiye to the 
landscape painter would be a work which should present to the eye, 
in combination and contrast, the leading forms of tropical Tegetation. 
How interesting the aspect of tree-ferns spreading their delicate fronds 
above the laurel-oaks of Mexico, or groups of bananas oyershadowed 
by arborescent grasses/^ With how much greater force do these re- 
marks apply to the cultiyator of plants. 


natural gravelly soil of the garden with two or 
three cart-loads of old brick rubbish, and upon 
this porous material, three or four loads of light 
sandy peat, giving loam to those plants which re- 
quired it. In addition to the plants mentioned 
above as inmates of the old house in town, are 
three species of Musa, M, Cavendishii, M. Chi- 
nensisy and M. bicolor, Canna edulis, C, indicGy C. 
gigantea, and one or two others: Stephanotus flori^ 
hundus, Clerodendron squamatumy Hibiscus Mani- 
hot, Passiflora quadrangularis^ P, alceformiSi P. 
princeps, Jasminum SanbaCy with single and double 
flowers; Hoya camosa, S. Cunninghamii, Serico- 
graphis Ghibertiana, three or four fine species of 
Justicia and Eranthemum ; many species and varie- 
ties of AchimeneSf Gesneria and Gloxima^ Aristo^ 
lochia trilobata, Bamimsa nigra^ &c. All these, 
with the exception of the Bamboo, flower most 
beautifully, and many of them ripen their seeds. 

The difference of climate in this house, when 
compared with the old locality, is strikingly 
manifested in several plants which, although 
inmates for years, never flowered in town, but 
here do so annually. Amongst these are the 
Strelitzia Regina^ Caladium esculentum, &c. I 
have not a doubt that many edible fruits would 
succeed in such a house. A gentleman from 
Shropshire once wrote me word, that he had 


gathered a fine crop of grapes in a closed house, 
and by adopting the plan mentioned in a former 
part of this work, as practised in Ceylon, of 
laying bare the roots, so as to cause the leaves 
to fall off, and thereby give the plant rest, 
such crops of fruit would, most probably, be 

My pool of water in this house is much larger 
than in the former, containing about two hun- 
dred gallons. Here the fish luxuriate amidst 
Anacharis Alsinastrum, Pontederia crassipesy 
Pistia StratioteSy Villarsia reniformisy and other 

I have thus described, imperfectly indeed, some 
of the results attainable in a temperate climate, 
and there cannot be a doubt, that in dry tropical 
countries the application of the same plan might 
be equally striking and beneficial. In ordinary 
horticulture much is effected by closely imitating 
the natural conditions of plants. Thus, my friend 
Dr. Royle, who has paid especial attention to this 
subject, informed me that there were certain 
plants in his garden, at Saharanpore, which he 
could only keep alive by surrounding them with 
small trees and shrubs, so as to give them a mois- 
ter atmosphere than they could otherwise have 
obtained ; and he mentions in his beautiful work, 
the " Illustrations of the Flora and Fauna of the 


Himalayas," a striking example of this kind. " To 
show the effects of protection and culture, Xan- 
thochymus dulcis may be adduced as a remarkable 
instance. This tree, which is found only in the 
southern parts of India, and which would not live 
in the more exposed climate of Saharanpore, 
exists as a large tree in the garden of the King of 
Delhi ; but here, surrounded by the numerous 
buildings within the lofty palace wall, in the 
midst of almost a forest of trees, with perpetual 
irrigation from a branch of the canal which flows 
through the garden, an artificial climate is pro- 
duced, which enables a plant even so sensible of 
cold as one of the Guttifer{Sf to flourish in the 
open air of Delhi, where it is highly prized, and 
reported to have milk thrown over its roots, as 
well as its fruit protected from plunder by a 
guard of soldiers." The comparative stillness of 
the atmosphere surrounding a plant thus shel- 
tered, has, doubtless, its effect in enabling it to 
bear the cold. Supposing ourselves in a hot and 
dry country, let us see what may be done by sur- 
rounding our plants with glass, and lowering the 
temperature, if requisite, by means of the evapo- 
ration of water from the external surface. We 
shall be enabled in this manner, as with the wand 
of a magician, to turn a desert into a paradise. 
Such cases cannot be better described than by 


the beautiful description of the pahn groves given 
by Desfontaines in his " Flora Atlantica," 

" These palm-groves, being impervious to the 
sun's rays, afford a hospitable shade both to man 
and other animals, in a region which would other- 
wise be intolerable from the intense heat. And 
under this shelter, the orange, the lemon, the 
pomegranate, the oUve, the almond and the vine 
grow in wild luxuriance, producing, notwith- 
standing they are so shaded, the most delicious 
fruit. And here, while the eyes are fed with 
the endless variety of flowers which deck these 
sylvan scenes, the ears are at the same time ra- 
vished with the melodious notes of numerous 
birds, which are attracted to these groves by the 
cool springs and the food which they there find." 

There are many other situations where these 
cases would be useful, as on ship-board, or where 
there exists a necessity for economizing water, 
as in the island of Ascension. 

In very cold countries too it is of great moment 
to make the best use of the little sun they pos- 
sess, and to protect the plants from searching 
winds. The cabbages of Iceland and Labrador 
would surely exceed their present size of one or 
two inches in diameter, if thus protected. 

As to the cases themselves — they admit of 
almost endless diversity of shape and size, from 


a wide-mouthed quart bottle to a building as 
large as the Crystal Palace, the larger indeed 
the better. The earlier cases were rude and in- 
elegant, when contrasted with those of my friend 
Mr. Cooke, who exerted his artistic taste in 
making them ornamental as well as useful. Many 
had the opportunity of seeing the difference 
when exhibited in Hyde Park, but drawings are 
added to enable all to choose for themselves.* It 
is always desirable to have an opening in the 
bottom, as some plants are the better for occa- 
sional watering, and in the event of slugs getting 
into the mould, they may be destroyed by wash- 
ing the earth with lime-water, which has thus a 
means of escape. Many cellular and flowerless 
plants will go on for a very long period without 
any fresh supply of water. I have now a bottle 
which was in the Exhibition, containing a fern 
or two with some mosses, which are in perfect 
health, and yet have not received any fresh water 
for eighteen years, and I believe it would be 
quite possible to fill a case with Palms and Ferns 
(placing it in a position where it would always 
obtain sufficient light and heat) that would not 
require any water for fifty or a hundred years. 

* A stand for ferns, manufactured in terra gotta, by Mr. Doulton, 
of Lambeth, is worthy of notice, the comers of the stand representing 
the Lepidendron^ and the sides ornamented with antediluvian ferns. 


Numerous plants require to be well supplied with 
water up to the period of inflorescence, and when 
the flowering is over, to be kept nearly dry. 
This is easily effected by removing the lid, or 
opening the door of the case, and allowing the 
superfluous moisture to evaporate. It is a very 
common but erroneous impression, that great 
knowledge of botany is required before any suc- 
cessful attempts at the cultivation of plants in 
closed cases can be made ; now, it must be 
obvious, from all that has been said, that whether 
the plant be grown in a case, or in the open air, 
its natural condition must be fulfilled to insure 
success. Again, many complain that the enclosed 
plants frequently become mouldy ; this may arise 
either from cold, want of light, redundant mois- 
ture, or a combination of these causes, producing 
diminished vital action, or else from the natural 
decay of the plant. It is very interesting to 
watch the progress of this. The moment a plant 
begins to decay, it is no longer of any use ; 
and the small parasitical fungi, commonly called 
moulds, are some of the means employed by Na- 
ture in removing that which would otherwise be 
an incumbrance, — " Cut it down, why cumbereth 
it the ground ? " 

To conclude this part of my subject with a 
few general observations. The advantages of the 


close method of growing plants consist mainly 
in the power we possess of freeing or sifting 
the air from extraneous matters^ of imita- 
ting the natural condition of all plants, as far 
as the climate we are living in will enable us 
to do, and of maintaining this condition for 
indefinite periods, free from disturbing causes. 
The plants are, of course, preserved from excess 
or deficiency of moisture, and owing to the 
perfectly quiet condition of the atmosphere 
with which they are surrounded, are able, like 
man, to bear extremes of temperature with im- 
punity, which under ordinary exposure would 
destroy them. The experiments of Sir C. Blag- 
den, and others, in heated ovens, are well known, 
and the performances of Chaubert are familiar 
to most of my readers. In these instances the 
Immunity is owing to the aqueous exhalations 
from the surface of the body remaining undis- 
turbed, and thus acting as a protecting shield. In 
like manner the Trichomanes lived for three years 
in a window with a southern aspect, exposed 
continually to a heat, which, without the pro- 
tection aflbrded by the glass, would have de- 
stroyed it in a single day. With respect to cold, 
the concurrent testimony of all arctic voyagers 
proves, that no inconvenience is felt, provided 
the air be perfectly still, even if the thermometer 


fall to 7(P below zero ; but that, if wind arise 
although the thermometer rise rapidly with it, 
the cold then becomes insupportable. These 
same voyagers acquaint us with an interesting 
fact, illustrating the truth of the old saying, that 
there is nothing new under the sun. Even the 
closed cases are as old as the creation. We are 
told, that the snow itself affords shelter to the 
productions of those inhospitable regions against 
the piercing winds that sweep over fields of ever- 
lasting ice. Under the cold defence of the snow 
plants spring up, dissolve the snow a few inches 
round, and the part above being again quickly 
frozen into a transparent sheet of ice, admits 
the sun's rays which warm and cherish the 
plant in this natural hothouse, until the returning 
summer renders such protection unnecessary. 
I need not, however, go to the Pole for illus- 
trations of the effect of disturbed atmosphere in 
cold weather. One of our poets has said, — 

•* And, with east winds, will teach you how to shave." 

All are familiar with our cutting March winds, 
which are so injurious and destructive to vegeta- 
tion in the open air, but have no effect upon 
enclosed plants. With respect to change of 
air, the plants obtain all the change which they 
require, by virtue of the diffusion law already 


explained, and no method of closing the cases 
can prevent this from taking place. 

A few words respecting the importance of 
reflecting on what we see around us, will with 
propriety close the chapter,* 

The simple circumstance which set me to work 
must have been presented to the eyes of horti- 
culturists thousands of times, but has passed 
unheeded in consequence of their disused closed 
frames being filled with weeds, instead of cucum- 
bers and melons; and I am quite ready to confess 
that if some groundsel or chickweed had sprimg 
up in my bottle instead of the fern, it might 
have made no impression upon me ; and again, 
after my complete success with the ferns, had I 
possessed the inductive mind of a Davy or a 
Faraday, I should, in an hour's quiet reflexion, 
have anticipated the results of years. I should 
have concluded, that all plants would grow as 
well as the ferns, inasmuch as I possessed the 
power of modifying the conditions to the wants 
of each individual. 

* I was ODce honoured by a visit from a celebrated mathematician, 
who called to make inquiry concerning the management of plants in 
closed cases, as he had succeeded with some, but failed with others. 
He left me with these words. ** Come and see me. I can in some 
measure repay you in kind. I can make you do what you have made 
me do — think,'*^ 





Inque noYOS soles audent se germina tuto 
Credere; nee metuit surgentes pampinus austros, 
Aut actum coelo magnis aquilonibus imbrem ; 
Sed tmdit gemmas, et frondes explicat omnes. 

ViRO. Geor. il 332. 

The golden boast 

Of Portugal and Western India, there 
The ruddier orange, and the paler lime, 
Peep through their polished foliage at the storm, 
And seem to smile at what they need not fear. 



Numerous have been the methods employed 
in the coDvejance of plants to and from distant 
countties. It is quite unnecessary, however, 
to enter into any lengthened details of these 
attempts, as they resolve themselves into two 
kinds; the one, hy which the plants are meant to 
be kept in a passive condition, and the other, 
by which means are employed to keep them 
growing during the voyage. 


charge of several coffee-plants that were sent to 
Martinico, and proved himself worthy of the 
trust. The voyage being long, and the weather 
unfavourable, they all died but one; and the 
ship's company being reduced to a short allow- 
ance of water, this zealous patriot divided his 
own share between himself and his precious 
charge, and happily succeeded in carrying it safe 
to Martinico, where it flourished, and was the 
parent stock whence the neighbouring islands 
were supplied. 

When I reflected upon the above causes of 
failure, it was obvious that my new method 
afforded a ready means of obviating all these 
difficulties, so far, at least, as regarded ferns 
and plants growing in similar situations ; and in 
the beginning of June, 1833, I filled two cases 
with ferns, grapes, &c., and sent them to Sydney 
under the care of my zealous friend Capt. Mal- 
lard, whose reports on their arrival, will be found 
in the Appendix. 

These cases were refilled at Sydney in Feb. 
1834, the thermometer being then between 90° 
and 100° in the shade. In their voyage to Eng- 
land they encountered very varying temperatures. 
The thermometer fell to 20° in rounding Cape 
Horn, and the decks were covered a foot deep 
with snow. At Rio Janeiro the thermometer 



rose to 100°, and in crossing the line, to 120°, 
In the month of November, eight months after 
their departure, they arrived in the British 
Channel, the thermometer being then as low as 
40°, These plants were placed upon deck, and 
were not once watered during the whole voyage, 
yet on their arrival at the docks they were 
in the most healthy and vigorous condition, and 
I shall not readily forget the delight expressed 
by Mr. G, Loddiges, who accompanied me on 
board, at the beautiful appearance of the fronds 
of Gleichenia microphylla^ a plant now for the 
first time seen alive in this country. Several 
plants of CalUcoma serrata had sprung up from 
seed during the voyage, and were in a very 
healthy state. 

The next experiment was with coffee and other 
tropical plants, which were sent in safety to 
Ibrahim Pacha in 1834, and were followed by 
numberless other cases sent to all parts of the 
world by Messrs. Loddiges. His Grace the late 
Duke of Devonshire was one of the first to make 
use of the closed cases, by sending one of his 
gardeners with them to the East Indies, for the 
purpose of procuring some of its vegetable trea- 
sures for his magnificent conservatory at Chats- 
worth. The Amherstia nobilis, and numberless 
other rarities were the fruits of this expedition. 


When the lamented Mr. Williams was about to 
leave England in 1839, for the Navigator Islands, 
he was anxious to take with him some useful 
plants, particularly the MtLsa CavendishiL He 
inquired of me whether it would travel safely 
in one of the closed cases, and having received 
an answer in the affirmative, he applied to the 
Duke of Devonshire, who kindly gave him a 
young plant. Mr. W. left England on the 10th 
of April, 1839, and arrived at Upolu, one of the 
Navigator Islands, at the end of the following 
November. The Mma bore this long voyage 
well, and was transplanted into a favourable situa- 
tion soon after its arrival. In May, 1840, it bore 
a fine cluster of fruit, exceeding three hundred in 
number, and weighing nearly a hundred weight. 
The parent plant then died, leaving behind more 
than thirty young ones. These were distributed 
in various parts of the island, and in the follow- 
ing May all were fructiferous, and produced 
numerous offsets. To estimate the importance 
of the introduction of this plant, we must bear 
in mind the great quantity of nutritious food 
furnished by the banana. Humboldt tells us 
that he was never wearied with astonishment at 
the small portion of soil, which in Mexico, and 
the adjoining provinces, would yield sustenance 
to a family for a year, and that the same extent 

E 2 


of ground, which in wheat would maintain only 
two persons, would afford support under the 
banana to fifty ; although in that favoured region 
the return of wheat is never under seventy, and 
sometimes as much as a hundred-fold. When 
compared with potatoes, the banana affords forty 
times as much food. 

One or two more instances will suffice— 
Mr. Fortune was sent to China by the Horti- 
cultural Society, and has given us the compara- 
tive results of the old and new methods of 
conveying plants in the second edition of his 
" Wanderings in China." Mr. Fortune tells us 
that according to a statement published by Mr. 
Livingstone in 1818, in the " Transactions of the 
Horticultural Society," one plant only in a thou- 
sand survived the voyage from China to England. 
Mr. Fortune planted two hundred and fifty spe- 
cies in the cases in China, and landed two hundred 
and fifteen in perfect health.* 

Very recently, Mr. Fortune paid a second visit 
to China, having been dispatched there by the 
Honourable East India Company for the purpose 
of procuring the different varieties of tea-plants 
for their possessions in the Himalayas. The fol- 

• His Excellency Sir W. Reid,. whilst Governor of Bermuda, 
made use of small portable cases, for the purpose of the interchange of 
plants, and with unvarying success. 


lowing extract from one of his letters will show 
the results : — 

"We have done wonders with your cases in 

India, as well as in this country "When 

I tell you that nearly twenty thousand tea-plants 
were taken in safety and in high health from Shan- 
ghae to the Himalayas, you will have an idea of 
our success. The same success attended some 
cases packed by me for the United States, A 
large number of rare and beautiful trees and 
shrubs sent by me at different times to this coun- 
try have arrived in the best order — scarcely a 
species has been lost. For these results we are 
indebted to you." 

It is perfectly needless to specify any more 
instances, as the use of the closed cases has be- 
come general. There is not, I believe, a single 
portion of the civilized world which has not 
more or less benefited by their introduction, and 
I believe that they are now universally adopted. 
The French and English governments have or- 
dered these cases to be used in their expeditions 
of discovery, and there are few, I imagine, who 
will now imitate the ill-timed economy of M. 
Guillemin, who was sent by the Minister of Agri- 
culture and Commerce at Paris to Brazil, for 
the purpose of obtaining information respecting 
the culture and preparation of the tea-plant, and 


the introduction of this shrub into France, M. 
Guillemin had personal knowledge of the efficacy 
of the closed plan^ having carried out Camellias to 
Rio in one of my cases ; and he says that his first 
plan had been to construct boxes on Mr. Ward's 
system, but the heavy price deterred * him, while 
the safety with which he had brought his fruits 
trees f from Europe, in a box with sliding panels, 
induced him to fix finally on this latter mode of 
construction. The result I will give in his own 
words, — " Very pleasing was the sight to me, 
when the day after the * Heroine * had sailed 
(May 20th, 1839), I beheld my eighteen precious 
boxes arranged two and two in such a situation 
as kept them steady and level, permitted them 
to receive light, and to have the movable panels 
closed in bad weather. The vigour of my tea- 
plants, and the lovely verdure of their foliage, 
had been generally admired at Rio, and I fondly 
anticipated the most prosperous results from my 
expedition. But short-lived was this satisfaction. 
Two days after, heavy north winds drove us off 
our course, the sea became more boisterous than 

* The cost of glazing the whole of Mens. Gaillemin's cases, would 
not have exceeded 202. 

t Had M. Guillemin reflected for one moment upon the differ- 
ent states of the fruit-trees, and of the tea-plants— the former being 
conveyed at the close, and the latter at the commencement of their 
active season — ^he would not, I think, have acted so unwisely. 


is usual in these latitudes, and the necessity for 
closing the ports, lest the spray should irrevo- 
cably ruin my plants, caused them a great injury 
by the necessary exclusion of light. To the latter 
circumstance I attribute the first deterioration of 
my plants, especially those more recently set. 
When the sea became calmer, and permitted us to 
open the port-holes, the wind sweeping the sur- 
face of the waves cast a fine salt-spray upon my 
boxes, which doubtless proved highly injurious, 
since the contents of those chests that were ex- 
posed to the wind suffered much more than those 
of the other side. 

"By the 11th of June, most of the teas had 
lost their foUage, and the stalks even of several 
had quite dried up. Some of the seeds had ger- 
minated ; the young shoots were slender, long, 
blanched, and furnished with a few pale leaves. 
By the 2nd of July, in latitude 24'° north, and 
longitude 43° west, the strongest shrubs were 
soaring most severely, while some had sent out 
mckers, and the young seedlings had assumed a 
greener tint. Capt. Cecille took great interest 
in the safe^ of my proUgit, and while the leak- 
^^^uy >\\ ome of the water-casks had compelled him 
^^^^fe M the whole ship's crew on a slender allow- 
^^^^^'Ji grater, he ordered me an increased quan- 
^^^E|m the benefit of the tea-shrubs. The 


vessel arrived at Brest on the 24th July, only 
two months after their departure from Rio, 
and the shrubs reached Paris in the latter end of 
August, reduced to one thousand five hundred in 
number, about one-third of the original stock, 
including young seedlings," * 

This narrative requires no comment. I believe 
that not one of the plants would have perished in so 
short a voyage had they been protected by glass. 

A few words, however, are requisite, by way of 

In preparing the cases for the voyage, some 
little attention is requisite. The objects to be at- 
tained are to admit light freely to all parts of the 
growing plant, and to make them sufficiently tight 
to prevent the escape of moisture, or the admis- 
sion of saline spray or other extraneous particles. 
Efiectually to secure this end, the glazed frames 
should be well painted and puttied some time be- 
fore they are required for use. The part of the 
case which contains the mould should not be more 
than six or eight inches in depth ; and the plants 
succeed better if planted in the soil than in sepa- 
rate small boxes, as the moisture is thereby 
more equally diffused* 

The soil should be that in which the plants or- 
dinarily grow ; and care should be taken that all 

• I am indebted for this account to Hooker's " Journal of Botany." 


superfluous water be fully drained off, as luxuriant 
growth is not desirable. The earth, in fact, should 
be moist ^ but not wet. Another point worthy of 
attrition is to associate plants of nearly equal 
rates of growth ; as, if free and slow-growing plants 
are in the same case, the former would soon mono- 
polise the light and destroy the others. This has 
happened in several instances. Where cases are 
properly &lledwith. individuals of one species only, 
they invariably arrive in the most beautiful con- 
dition, as in several containing Norfolk Island 
pines, on which scarcely a dead or yellow leaf was 
to be seen. If the above precautions are attended 
to, if all bestowed the same care and attention in 
the packing of plants for distant voyages as Messrs, 
Loddiges and Guthrie, and when on ship-board, 
would give them the same amount of light as my 
friend Captain Mallard, failure would scarcely 
ever occur, even in voyages of the longest dura- 
tion, or through the most varying climates. 

Although plants in these cases will bear great 
variations of temperature with impunity, it does 
not follow that a// plants will beiar long continued 
cold. It has not unfrequently happened that cases 
full of precious plants, which have arrived at the 
Land's End in a vigorous condition, after a voyage 
of several months, have perished from the length 
of time occupied in beating up Channel in the 

B 5 


depth of winter. Caxe should, therefore, be taken 
that all tropical plants should be dispatched, so as 
to arrive in this country in mild weather. 

With respect to the conveyance of seeds, all 
those which, from their oily nature, peculiarity 
of constitution, or any other cause, do not long 
retain their vegetative powers, are best sown in 
the mould, either between the other plants, or in 
cases by themselves. Very great numbers of rare 
and beautiful plants have been introduced in this 
way.* As to other seeds, the plan which is now 
found to be most successful having been pub- 
lished more than eighty years ago by the cele* 
brated John Ellis, I cannot do better than detail 
it in the words of the author ; and I am induced 
to do so for two reasons, — to render my subject 
more complete, and to do justice to the memory 
of a great man, whose clear account has been so 
strangely overlooked by modem writers. 

'^ Our seedsmen are much distressed for a proper 
method to keep their seeds sound and in a state of 
vegetation through a long voyage An in- 
stance has come to my knowledge which illus- 
trates the different methods of packing and stowing 
seeds for a long voyage, and it may be of use to 

* Many years ago, Mr. Anderson, of the Botanic Garden, Chelsea, 
received a case full of young clove and nutmeg plants, the seeds of 
which had been sown on the departure of the case from Trinidad. 


notice it, as it not only points out the error, but 
in some measure how to avoid it. 

" A gentleman going to Bencoolen, in the island 
of Sumatra, had a mind to furnish himself with 
an assortment of seeds for a kitchen-garden; these 
were accordingly packed up in boxes and casks, 
and stowed with other goods in the hold of the 
ship. When he arrived at Bencoolen he sowed 
his seeds, but soon found, to his great mortifica- 
tion, that they were all spoiled, for none of them 
came up. Convinced that it must be owing to 
the heat of the ship's hold and their long confine- 
ment in putrid air, and having occasion to return 
to England, he determined in his next voyage 
thither to pack them up in such a manner, and to 
place them so as to give them as much air as he 
could, without the danger of exposing them to salt 
water ; and, therefore, put the smaller seeds into 
separate papers, and placed them among some 
clean straw in a small close net, and hung it up 
in his cabin; and the larger ones he put into 
boxes, stowing them where the free air could come 
at them and blow through them: the effect was, 
that as soon as he arrived at Bencoolen he sowed 
them, and in a little time found, to his great satis- 
faction, that they all grew extremely well. It is 
well known to our seedsmen that even here at 
home, seeds kept in close warehouses and laid up 


in heaps, frequently spoil, unless they are often 
sifted and exposed to the air. Seeds saved in 
moist cold summers, as their juices are too watery 
and the substance of their kernels not sufficiently 
hardened to due ripeness, are by no means fit for 
exportation to warmer climates. 

" Our acorns, unless ripened by a warm summer, 
will not keep long in England; those acorns 
which are brought from America, and arrive early 
in the year, generally come in good order, owing 
to their juices being better concocted by the heat 
of their summer, and are not apt to shrivel, when 
exposed to the sun, as ours are. 

" These hints are given to show how necessary 
it is to take care that the seeds we sendshouldbe 
perfectly ripe and dry." * 

* ^Directions for Captains of Ships, Sea Surgeons, and other 
curious persons who collect seeds and plants in distant countries, in 
what manner to preserve them fit for vegetation/^ — John Ellis, 
London, 1770. 






E^SN in the stifling bosom of the town, 

A garden in which nothing thriyes, has charms 

That soothes the rich possessor; much consoled. 

That, here and there, some sprigs of moamfiil mint. 

Of nightshade, or valerian, grace the well 

He cultivates. These serve him with a hint 

That Nature lives, that sight-refreshing green 

Is still the livery she delights to wear. 

Though sickly samples of the exuberant whole. 

What are the casements lined with creeping herbs. 

The prouder sashes, fronted with a range 

Of orange, myrtle, or the fragrant weed, 

The Frenchman's darling ? are they not all proofs 

That man, immured in cities, still retains 

His inborn, inextinguishable thirst 

Of rural scenes, compensating his loss 

By supplemental shifts, the best he may ? 

The most unfurnished with the means of life. 

And they that never pass their brick-wall bounds. 

To range the fields, and treat their lungs with air. 

Yet feel the burning instinct; over head 

Suspend their crazy boxes, planted thick. 

And watered duly. There the pitcher stands, 

A fragment, and the spoutless tearpot there; 

Sad witnesses how close-pent man regrets 

The country; with what ardour he contrives 

A peep at Nature, when he can no more. 


The book of Nature is written in every language, and lies open to 
all the world. The works of Creation speak in the common voice of 
reason, and want no interpreter to explain their meaning, but are to 
be understood by people of all languages upon the face of the earth. 
There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 




Among the niunerous useful applications of 
the closed cases, there is one which I believe to 
be of paramount importance, and weU deserving 
the attention of every philanthropist. I mean 
their application to the relief of the physical and 
moral wants of densely crowded populations in 
large cities. Among the members of this popu- 
lation there are numbers, who, either from early 


associations, or from that love of Nature which 
is implanted, to a greater or less degree, in the 
bosom of all, are passionately fond of flowers, 
and endeavour to gratify their taste at no small 
toil. Some years ago a lady in Bristol thus wrote 
to me, — " I have now one of your cases made by 
a glazier here who has quite enlivened his small 
dark room with fresh green plants, and very grate- 
ful he feels to you for your discovery. I think 
you must have much satisfaction in thinking how 
much pleasure you have been enabled to give in 
the world, and how often the sorrowful have been 
cheered by watching the fresh vegetation near 
them, when illness or their occupations in life 
confine them to the dark smoky streets of a large 
town. Many country walks, too, have been taken 
by those, who would not otherwise have stirred 
from their homes, to find suitable plants to fill 
their cases." 

About the same time, I received a letter from 
the glassier above referred to,* a portion of which 
I copy, as it graphically describes the situation 
and feelings of thousands of those who like him- 

• Mr. Ivey, of College Street, whom I have lately had. the pleasure 
of visiting, and my readers will, I am sure, rejoice with me in learn- 
ing that he is now reaping the reward of honest industry and un- 
deviating integrity. Mr. Ivey showed me some marine Alga^ which 
were looking very healthy, after confinement in a closed case for more 
than twelve months. 


self are compelled to live in cities, — **Ihave, 
with great pleasure and with greater profit, read 
your work on plants in closed cases, and have 
now outside my sitting-room window a Lilliputian 
landscape, entirely through reading that work, 
obtained by enclosing a space with glass. In this 
case, which has no sun upon it at this time of the 
year until near two p.m. and gradually coming on 
later until it will not be visited for some months 
by that luminary, I have a variety of ferns, 
wood-sorrel and many other wild plants, which 
many persons here very much admire, wondering 
how I could keep them alive without air. All 
the back of my premises and close to my cases 
are some blacksmiths' forges, and a great deal of 
smoke pouring from a bake-house chimney. I 
am quite certain that if I admitted the air of the 
yard, my present green-house would 90on be a 
black-house. In conclusion, let me say, that if 
at any time my services will be of use to you, 
they will be most readily at your command, 
having been from a boy exceedingly fond of 
growing anything in the earth ; for I weU recol- 
lect when a row of chick-weed against a wall 
which bordered our yard was to me as great a 
delight as a new fuchsia or a purple nasturtion 
would be to an amateur of the present day, and 
when, after having sown some barley in a space of 


eighteen feet by ten, in March 1816, I had a 
bed of beautiful high level green, I thought I 
was a wonderful gardener. I still delight in 
these things, and I must say that I am extremely 
obliged to you for a great enjoyment I now pos- 
sess, for when I come in tired with business, 
fatigued perhaps in body and mind, there 's my 
little green-house looks so refreshing, that I can- 
not help feeling its influence soothing my mind, 
and rewarding me for all the trouble I have taken 
with it." 

'* Yes, in the poor man^s garden grow 
Far more tban herbs and flowers :— 
Kind thoughts, contentment, peace of mind. 
And joy for weary hours/ 


Peter Collinson (whose pious memory ought to 
be a standing toast at the meetings of the Horti- 
cultural Society) used to say, that he never knew 
an instance in which the pursuit of such a plea- 
sure as the culture of a garden affords did not 
either find men temperate and virtuous, or make 
them so. And this may be observed as an im- 
deniable and not unimportant fact relating to the 
lower classes of society, that wherever the garden 
of a cottage or other humble dwelling is care- 
fully and neatly kept, neatness and thrift and 
domestic comfort will be found within doors. 

I have yet another glazier to introduce to my 


readers — Mr. Smith, of Wellclose Square, whom 
I mention, as his form of aquarium for gold and 
silver fish is the best with which I am acquainted. 
It consists of a glazed case about two feet by one, 
and one and a-half feet in depth, one foot of 
which is occupied by the water. At the bottom 
is a rude representation of a cromlech, which 
serves to conceal a small pipe, from which issues 
a jjct of water, which in hot weather produces 
a very pleasing effect, and serves at the same 
time to carry off, by means of a waste pipe, the 
impurities which are the constant attendants upon 
a London atmosphere. This has been established 
for more than six years ; but the fish do not 
Kve more than from six to eighteen months, 
owing, most probably, to the want of vegeta- 

I will now endeavour to show how the glazed 
cases may be made subservient to the benefit of 
the poor, and to point out how cheaply and easily 
this may be effected. A box lined with zinc, 
and having three or four openings in the bottom 
to ensure perfect drainage, will be required for 
the reception of the plants, and glazed frames 
can be procured anywhere at a most moderate 
cost. What would be still better, would be to 
convert the spaces between the windows into 
closed cases. The plants to furnish them can be 


procured abundantly in the woods in the neigh- 
bourhood of London. Of these I will mention 
a few. The common Ivy grows most beautifully, 
and can be trained over any part of the case, 
agreeably to the pleasure of the owner. The 
Primroses in early spring, will abundantly repay 
the labour of fetching them, continuing for seven 
or eight weeks in succession to flower as sweetly 
as in their native woods. The lovely Wood- 
sorrel, Oxalis acetoselluy grows and flowers most 
freely when thus enclosed. This plant was in full 
flower when I was first honoured by a visit from 
the late Dr. Neill of Edinburgh, one who did 
more to advance the science of horticulture in his 
native country than any who had preceded him. 
Dr. Neill told me that he had never succeeded in 
causing this plant to flower at Canon Mills, where 
almost everything did well under his untiring 
skill. To the above plants may be added the wood 
Anemone, the yellow Pimpernel, the Veronica, the 
Stitchwort, and a host of other early-flowering 
plants. Mosses and ferns are great additions, but 
some of the latter are more valuable than others, 
in consequence of the longer duration of their 
fronds, — such as Lastrcea multiflora, spinulosa, 
and other allied species. There are likewise many 
common garden plants procurable at little cost — 
such as the lily of the valley, Solomon's seal. 


musk plant, myrtles, box, &c., which grow with- 
out the least trouble. All the vacant spaces in 
the case may be employed in raising small salad, 
radishes, &c. ; and I think that a man would be a 
bad manager, who could not in the course of a 
year pay for his case, out of its proceeds. The 
above remarks apply to situations where there is 
little solar light. 

Where there is a larger amount of sun, a 
greater number and variety of flowering plants 
will be found to thrive — such as the spring bulbs, 
crocuses, irises, hyacinths, narcissuses, tulips, 
&c., with several kinds of roses, passion-flowers, 
and numerous beautiful annuals, the species of 
nemophila, convolvulus, gilias, lupines, &c. The 
vegetation, in fact, can be diversified in an end- 
less degree not only in proportion to the differing 
degrees of light and heat, but likewise by varying 
the quantity of moisture : thus, with precisely 
the same aspect, ferns and bog-plants might be 
grown in one case, and aloes, cactuses, Mesem- 
bryanthemumSf and other succulent plants in 

These cases form the most beautiful blinds 
that can be imagined, as there is not a window in 
London that cannot command throughout the 
year the most luxuriant verdure: indeed, by 
means of their instrumentality, London, or any 


other large town, might be converted into one 
vast garden. Admitting far more light into the 
dwellings, continually purifying the atmosphere, 
and furnishing food to the mind as well as the 
body, — ^they would be invaluable to those who 
have not the opportunity of visiting the country. 
They might be made, moreover, the means of 
illustrating the antiquities of any country — by 
erecting in them models of old towers, castles, 
gateways, &c., and which, when covered with 
plants, would form tableaux vivans of the 
highest interest. Nothing can be conceived more 
cheerful than the appearance of rooms thus fur- 
nished, and in proportion as the use of these cases 
becomes more general among the middle and 
higher classes, a new field of healthful and 
profitable industry vdll be opened to the poor, 
who might not only be employed in procuring 
plants from the country, but whose ingenuity 
might be called into play in executing the models 
above referred to in sandstone, chalk, or other 
suitable material. I need not, however, dilate 
upon this point, as these varied applications must 
be obvious to all. 

But I must here caution the poor against in- 
dulging a taste for what are called fabcy-flowers 
— things this year rewarded with gold medals, 
and the next thrown upon the dunghill. Be- 


lieving that all human pursuits ought to be esti- 
mated in exact proportion as they tend to pro- 
mote the glory of God, or the good of man, 
let us for a moment compare the empty chase 
after fancy flowers with the legitimate pursuits 
of horticulture and floriculture. So far from 
the love of God and the good of his fellow-crea- 
tures being the end and aim of the fancy florist, 
he values everything in proportion as it is unna- 
tural and unattainable by the rest of mankind. 
" A long time must elapse ere the world can 
hope to see a perfect pansy ! " says one of these 
fancy writers. How the world is to benefit by 
this Phoenix, when it does arrive, he will, of 
course, inform us in his next publication. 

Let the poor remember that their " single 
talent " should be well employed ; let them learn 
to estimate things according to their true value, 
and devote their time and attention to the legi- 
timate pursuits of horticulture and floriculture. 
It would appear that innumerable plants have 
been created with latent useful qualities, for the 
purpose of exercising the mind, and rewarding 
the industry of man, who, by acting in con- 
formity with the laws of Nature, is enabled to 
produce the most beneficial results. Thus, if 
increased succulence be the point aimed at, the 
plants must be the more abundantly supplied 


with water ; if increase of flavour, then less water, 
but a larger proportion of sun and light, which 
latter are to be withheld if the natural flavour 
of the plant be too strong. Who could have 
imagined from the appearance of the wild carrot 
or parsnip, the crab, the celery, and the endive, 
that all these would form such important addi- 
tions to our tables. There is, in fact, scarcely 
a vegetable or fruit, that owes not a portion of 
its excellence to horticultural exertions, directed 
by science. And so, with respect to floriculture ; 
that man would be fastidious indeed, who would 
not appreciate and enjoy the increased beauty 
and fragrance of a double rose or fine stock. I 
have said enough as to the physical results of 
these pursuits, and will endeavour to point out 
the probable moral effects. The highest and 
best feelings of our nature are excited by the 
contemplation of the works of God. The Divine 
Word has commanded us to " consider the lilies 
of the field, how they grow," and there is, pro- 
bably, no study which leads the mind of the pur- 
suer more directly to the Author and Giver of 
all good things, and fills the heart of man with 
greater joy and thankfulness than the study of 
that branch of Natural History which compre- 
hends the Vegetable kingdom. 

" The infinite variety of forms, the nice adap- 


tation of these to their several functions, the 
beauty and elegance of a large number, and the 
singularity of others, but above all, their pre- 
eminent utility to mankind in every state and 
stage of life, render them objects of the deepest 
interest both to rich and poor, high and low, 
wise and unlearned ; so that arguments in proof 
of the power, wisdom, and goodness of God, 
drawn from the vegetable kingdom^ are likely to 
meet with more attention, to be more generally 
comprehended, to make a deeper and more last- 
ing impression upon the mind, to direct the heart 
more fervently and devotedly to the Maker and 
Giver of these interesting beings, than those 
which are drawn from more abstruse sources, 
though really more elevated and sublime." We 
cannot better illustrate the truth of the above 
observations than by quoting a passage from the 
life of a celebrated traveller. 

" Whichever way I turned, nothing appeared 
but danger and difficulty. I saw myself in the 
midst of a vast wilderness, in the depth of the 
rainy season, naked and alone, surrounded by 
savage animals, and man still more savage. I was 
five hundred miles from the nearest European 
settlement. All these circumstances crowded at 
once upon my recollection, and I confess that 



my spirits began to fail me. I considered my 
fate as certain^ and that I had no alternative 
but to lie down and perish. The influence of 
religion, however, aided and supported me. I 
reflected that no human prudence or foresight 
could possibly have averted my present sufferings. 
I was, indfed, a stranger in a strange land, yet I 
was still under the protecting eye of that Pro- 
vidence who has condescended to call himself the 
stranger's friend. At this moment, painful as 
my reflections were, the extraordinary beauty of 
a small moss * in fructification, irresistibly caught 
my eye. I mention this to show from what 
trifling circumstances the mind will sometimes 
derive consolation, for though the whole plant 
was no larger than the tip of one of my fingers, 
I could not contemplate the delicate confor- 
mation of its roots, leaves and capsules, without 
admiration. Can that Being (thought I) who 
planted, watered, and brought to perfection, in 
this obscure part of the world, a thing which 
appears of so small importance, look with un- 
concern upon the situation and sufferings of crea- 

* The moss which engaged Mungo Parkas attention so much in the 
desert, is the Fissidens btyotdes, as I have ascertained by means of 
original specimens given to me by his brother-in-law, Mr. Dickson.-^— 
Sir J. W. Hooker. 


tures formed after his own image ? Surely not ! 
Reflections like these would not allow me to 
despair. I started up, and, disregarding both 
hunger and fatigue, travelled forwards assured 
that relief was at hand, and I was not disap- 
pointed," — Park's Travels in Africa. 


p 2 



It will be enougk, if, after having led the way on a new territory 
of investigation, we shall select one or two out of the goodly number 
of instances, as specimens of the richness and fertility of the soil. 

Chalmers* Bridgbwatbr Treatise. 


The application of the closed cases to the illus- 
tration of physiological and pathological botany, 
must be sufficiently obvious to all who are inter- 
ested in such enquiries. In most of the experi- 
ments which have been hitherto undertaken by 
vegetable physiologists, the results have been ren- 
dered liable to some doubt, in consequence of the 
fancied necessity for the open exposure of the 
plants to air, whereas now the utmost certainty is 


I will content myself with specifying a few of 
the more important instances in which the new 
method will be foimd of practical utility : — 

1. Observations, strictly comparative, can now 
be made on the effects of different soils, manures, 
&c., in cases divided into several compartments, 
each compartment being filled with different soils, 
but the same plants. 

2. To determine the powers possessed by plants, 
of absorbing and selecting various substances by 
their roots. 

3. To ascertain the existence and nature of the 
excretions from the roots, the deleterious charac- 
ters of which, if they exist, being rendered very 
problematical by the fact of plants in a state of 
nature occupying the same situation for ages.* 

4. To show the effects of poisons upon plants. 

5. To test the influence of light in protecting 
plants from the effects of low temperatures. This 
has already been proved by the same species sur- 
viving in the light, but dying in the dark portions 
of a closed case. 

In the severe venter which occurred many 
years ago, the noble plant of Araucaria excelsa, in 
the Pinetum at Dropmore, was killed. I believe 

* Dnimmond states that he has no doubt that many of the Swan 
River OrcMdacea^ of the genera Tltdimytra^ Diuris, &c. have con- 
tinued to flourish in half a square inch of earth for ages. 


that the plant would not have suffered had light 
been admitted through the covering which pro- 
tected it from the cold ; and this could easily, have 
been effected by means of melon lights, &c. 

6. To determine various important points re- 
specting those numerous and highly interesting 
tribes of plants and animals which, from their 
extreme minuteness, or fugacious nature, have 
hitherto eluded observation, but which the na- 
turalist in his study will now be enabled to 
watch, microscopically if required, during the 
whole period of their growth. Let the man of 
the world despise, if he will, these inquiries. 
There is nothing little in Nature, save those 
little minds which are unable to comprehend 
great truths. These microscopic objects — 

** To us invisible, or dimly seen. 
.... Yet these declare 
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine." 

In a work like this, it is impossible to enter 
into any lengthened detail respecting this mighty 
world of wonders. There is one class, however, 
which has excited in no small measure, the atten- 
tion of naturalists — I mean those small alg^y 
whose reproductive spores, escaping from the 
parent plant, appear to be endowed with volun- 
tary motion, swimming about until they reach 

F 5 


some fixed point, to which they can attach them- 
selves, and thus commence their vegetable exist- 
ence. Small as these bodies are, they fulfil a 
most important office in creation ; so important, 
indeed, that the largest beast of the field would 
be less missed than one of these, and I cannot 
but imagine that the Divine Wisdom has given 
them their locomotive power that not one of 
them should perish. Connected, as I believe it 
is, with this highly interesting subject, I must here 
allude to one of the most remarkable deviations 
from ordinary growth, with which the botanical 
physiologist is acquainted. In the Laminarue, 
the footstalk of the leaf or frond lasts for a great 
number of years, whilst the laminated portion is 
renewed annually, the new growth commencing 
between the apex of the footstalk and the base 
of the laminated part, until the preceding growth 
of the expanded part becomes thrown off*.* The 
persistent footstalks serve for the attachment and 
growth of successive myriads of the smaUer sea- 
weeds, and nothing can be conceived more beau- 
tiful than these fairy-like submarine forests, 
clothed with lovely vegetation of varied hues, 

* In many parts of our coast, these are cast on shore in large 
quantities, and, after having fulfilled their destiny in their natural 
element, contribute, in the way of manure, to increase our crops of 
potatoes, &c. Truly, Nature is a wonderful economist 


and enlivened by the presence of minute Crus- 
tacea and other animals^ which sport and gambol 
among the tiny branches^ like squirrels on the 
trees. The lichens and mosses on the trees in 
the northern regions subserve the same purposes 
as these algre in the seas. 

^ Maximus in minimis certe Deus, et mihi major, 
Qnam vasto coeli in templo, astrommque caterva.^ 

7. To watch the developement of fungi, &c. 
I had been struck with the extraordinary account 
of the rapidity of growth of Phallus fcetidusy 
which was said to attain the height of four or five 
inches in as many hours. Having procured three 
or four specimens in an undeveloped state, I 
placed them in a small glazed case. All but one 
grew during my temporary absence from home. 
I was determined not to lose sight of the last 
specimen, and observing one evening that there 
was a small rent in the volva, indicating the 
approaching development of the plant, I watched 
it all night, and at eight in the morning the 
summit of the pileus began to push through 
the jelly-like matter with which it was sur- 
rounded. In the course of twenty-five minutes 
it shot up three inches, and attained its full eleva- 
tion of four inches in one hour and a half. The 
entire life of the Phallus^ after its development 


from the volva, was four days. Extraordinary as 
this rapidity may appear, I believe it to be far 
surpassed by other plants of this family, as I was 
informed by Lady Arden, who has paid great at- 
tention to them, that the lives of some were so 
brief as scarcely to allow of sufficient time to 
finish her drawings of them. Marvellous are 
the accounts of the rapid growth of cells in the 
fungi ; but in the above instance it cannot for a 
moment be imagined that there was any actual 
growth of new cells, but merely an elongation of 
the erectile tissue of the plant. These cases may 
likevdse be made available in clearing up the 
confusion which exists in the determination of 
the genera and species of this family. Out of 
one species {Thelephora sulphured), according to 
Fries, no less than eight genera have been formed 
in* consequence of degeneration or imperfect 
states of growth. 

Lastly, the scientific naturalist will be assisted 
in exploring that debateable ground on the con- 
fines of the animal and vegetable kingdoms, 
where in our present state of ignorance, it is 
often impossible to determine the point at which 
the one ends or the other begins. 

I shall conclude my little work with pointing 
out the application of the same principles, which 
have proved so successful in the growth of plants, 


to animals and to man; an application far out- 
weighing in importance all that has hitherto 
been effected. In a letter addressed to Sir W. J. 
Hooker, and published in the " Companion to 
the Botanical Magazine," for May 1836, I thus 
wrote — " I feel well-assured that this method 
of importing plants would likewise be extremely 
useful in the introduction of many of the lower 
but most interesting tribes of animals, which have 
never yet been seen alive in this coimtry." In 
April 1838, in a lecture delivered by Professor 
Faraday,* on the closed cases, at the Royal Insti- 
tution ; and later in the same year at the meeting 
of the British Association at Liverpool, I ex- 
pressed my opinion, that animals and man might 
benefit by the same plan of treatment which had 
proved so successful with plants. In 1842, in 
the first edition of this work, I stated, that a 
little reflection will convince us that this idea is 
not so visionary as it might appear at first sight, 
as I had proved by numerous and long-con- 
tinued experiments that the air of London, if 
duly sifted, was perfectly fitted for the respiration 
of all plants, even of those with the most deli- 
cate leaves, such as the Trichomanes speciosum^ 
which may, in fact, be considered as a test-plant, 
as regards the purity of the air. Now this same 

* Vide Xietter of Profl Faisday, in the Appendix. 


condition of the atmosphere, so essential to the 
well-being and even existence of such plants, we 
have it in our power to obtain in large towns ; 
and by warming and moistening the air we can, 
in fact, closely imitate any climate upon the face 
of the earth. It cannot be denied that in a pure 
and properly regulated atmosphere we possess a 
remedial means of the highest order for many of 
the ills that flesh is heir to ; and every medical 
man knows well, by painful experience, how nu- 
merous are the diseases which, setting at nought 
his skill and his remedies, would yield at once to 
the renovating influence of pure air. The diffi- 
culty to be overcome would be the removal or 
neutralization of the carbonic acid given out by 
animals ; but this in the present state of science 
could easily be effected, either by ventilators, 
or by the growth of plants in connexion with the 
air of the room, so that the animal and vegetable 
respirations might counterbalance each other. 
The volume of the air, with the quantity of ve- 
getable matter required, as compared with the 
size and rank of the animal in Creation, would 
be a problem well worthy of solution. Experi- 
ments of this kind upon any scale might be 
instituted in the Zoological Gardens, where the 
moping owl and ivy-mantled tower might be as- 
sociated. In one of my own houses, about ten 


feet square, sufficiently close for the growth of 
the most delicate ferns, a robin lived for several 
months, at the end of which time he escaped, in 
consequence of the accidental opening of the 

Among the diseases incident to man, which 
would be most materially benefited by pure air, 
I shall allude only to two, viz., measles and con- 
sumption. This is not the place to enter into 
any long discussion on medical points ; but be- 
lieving firmly as I do, that a properly regulated 
atmosphere is of more importance in these dis- 
eases than all other remedial means, it would 
have been unpardonable in a work like the pre- 
sent to have passed them over without notice. In 
the crowded districts of large towns the direct 
mortality arising from measles is always great, 
but nothing, I believe, compared with the num- 
bers that die at various and distant intervals in 
consequence of neglect during the disease. Nearly 
all this distress and mortality might be averted 
were there proper rooms provided for the recep- 
tion of the children of the poor when labouring 
under this complaint, or of communicating it 
in favourable seasons. In my examination be- 
fore the Commissioners * for inquiring into the 

♦ Vide Report of the Commissioners for inquiring into the state 
of large towns and populous districts. London, 1844. 


state of large towns, I urged the above considera- 
tions upon their notice, in regard to measles; 
and long continued experience has convinced me 
that the amount of benefit that would be derived 
from the adoption of the plan I have recom- 
i^ended, would be scarcely inferior to that which 
has been effected by vaccination in controlling 
the ravages of small pox. With respect to con- 
sumption, could we have such a place of refuge 
as I believe one of these closed houses would 
prove to be, we should then be no longer under 
the painful necessity of sending a beloved relative 
to a distant land for the remote chance of reco- 
very, or too probably to realize the painful de- 
cription of Blackwood, " Far away from home, 
with strangers around him, a language he does 
not understand, doctors in whom he has no confi- 
dence, scenery he is too ill to admire, religious 
comforters in whom he has no faith, with a deep 
and every day more vivid recollection of domestic 
scenes, — heart-broken — home-sick — friendless 
and uncared-for — ^he dies." 

Another point, especially worthy of consider- 
ation, is the free admission of light into the dwell- 
ings of all, both rich and poor.* " Let in the 
Sim, and shut out the doctor," says an old Italian 

* ^^ Truly the light is sweet — ^and a pleasant thing it is to behold 
the sun." 


proverb. I have already mentioned the effects of 
light upon vegetation ; and its influence upon the 
animal economy, although not so immediately 
obvious, is not the less striking. Milne-Edwards 
tells us, that if tadpoles be nourished with proper 
food, and are exposed to the constantly renewed 
action of water (so that their branchial respiration 
be maintained) but are entirely deprived of light, 
their growth continues, but their change into the 
condition of air-breathing animals is arrested, and 
they remain in the form of large tadpoles. Dr. 
Edwards also observes, that persons who live in 
caves and cellars, or in very dark and narrow 
streets, are apt to produce deformed children ; and 
that men who work in mines are liable to disease 
and deformity beyond what the simple closeness 
of the atmosphere would be likely to produce. 
Mr. Watson, of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, 
informed me that, cceteris paribus^ more deaf and 
dumb children were born in dark than in light 
dwellings. Sir James Wylie stated, some years 
ago, that the cases of disease in the dark side of 
an extensive barrack at St. Petersburg, have 
been uniformly, for many years, in the propor- 
tion of three to one of those on the side exposed 
to strong light. 

The more the body is exposed to the influence 
of strong light, the more freedom do we find. 


ccBteris parHms^ from irregular action and confor- 
mation. Humboldt has remarked, that, among 
several nations of South America, who wear very 
little clothing, he never saw an individual with a 
natural deformity ; and Linnaeus, in his " Lachesis 
Lapponica," enumerates constant exposure to 
solar light as one of the causes which render a 
summer's journey through high northern latitudes 
as peculiarly healthful and invigorating. 

In enumerating the benefits likely to arise from 
the use of the closed cases, it must not be for- 
gotten that, as a means of administering comfort 
to the afflicted and distressed in body or mind, 
they are invaluable. I have had repeated appli- 
cations from parties who have been confined, from 
paralysis or other causes, to a bed or sofa, either 
in country or town, and they have thus been en^ 
abled to beguile many a weary hour ; and with 
numberless persons labouring under that most 
distressing of all human maladies, mental aber- 
ration, I have much reason to believe that their 
soothing influence would have a most beneficial 
result ; and how easily could this be effected. 
Take the long gallery at St. Luke's — the gloomy 
tone of which is sufficient to depress the mind 
of a sane person — and introduce a dozen or two 
of closed cases into the walls, containing tableaux 
vivans of old ruins or portions of natural scenery, 



covered with its fresh and appropriate vegetation, 
and you would have one of the most beautiful 
promenades conceivable. 

In concluding my little work, no one can be 
more sensible than myself of its many imperfec- 
tions. The unremitting toil of general medical 
practice allows of little time for scientific in- 
quiries ; and I must rest satisfied with having 
ministered matter for men of riper wits and deeper 
judgments to polish. Deeply convinced of the 
great practical utility and high importance of 
these researches, I hope yet to see the day when 
in our Universities and our public schools, 
the study of Natural History will be deemed 
at least as worthy of attention as an ode of 
Pindar, or a proposition of Euclid. All sorts 
and conditions of men would benefit by a more 
extended knowledge of those immutable laws, 
which influence the well-being of everything 
that has life. The medical man would find his 
endeavours to improve the sanitary condition of 
his fellow creatures no longer thwarted by the 
delusive fallacies of mesmerism or homoeopathy, 
or by defective and mischievous legislation ; and 
the divine would surely not be the less able ex- 
pounder of the Word of God, by being able to 
demonstrate practically to his flock, that through 


the length and breadth of Creation, man " cannot 
■tir where universal love not reigns around," As 
it is, the students are presented 

" With tax uniTenal blank 
Of N&tnre'i norki, to them eipimged and nxed. 
And iriidom, at one cntiance, quite ihul aul." 





Copy of a Letter to David Don, Esq., read before 
the Linnean Society of London^ June 4fthy 1833. 

Wbllclosb Square, June ith, 1833. 

My dear Sir, 

The difficulty of conveying ferns from 
foreign countries has long been matter of regret 
to the cultivators of that most interesting family 
of plants. About three years ago I was led to 
make some experiments upon the subject, in 
consequence of noticing a seedling of Aspidium 
Filix-mas, and one of Poa annua, on the surface 
of some moist mould in a large bottle, in which 
I had buried the chrysalis of a Sphinx. Curious 
to observe how vegetation would proceed in so 
confined a situation, I placed the bottle, loosely 
covered with a tin lid, outside one of my win- 
dows, with a northern aspect. This cover allowed 
a sufficient change of air for the preservation 
and development of the plants, and, at the same 


time, prevented the evaporation of the moisture 
within. In the bottle these plants remained for 
more than three years, during which time not 
one drop of water was given to them, nor was 
the cover removed. The Poa flowered the 
second year, but did not ripen its seeds; and 
about five or six fronds of the Aspidium were 
annually developed, but neither thecae nor 
sporules were produced. These plants acci- 
dentally perished, from the rusting of the lid 
and the consequent admission of rain, which 
caused them to rot. During the last twelve- 
month I have tried this method with more than 
thirty species of ferns, with uniform success. 
Many other plants which grow in moist situa- 
tions will succeed equally well when treated in 
this way. To mention one instance: I trans- 
planted some roots of List era Nidus-avis about 
three weeks ago. Those which I placed in my 
fern-boxes grew most rapidly, while the remain- 
der, treated in the usual manner, completely 
withered away. I have the pleasure of sub- 
mitting two of my boxes to the inspection of the 
Linnean Society. My valued friend Capt. Mal- 
lard, whose active zeal in the cause of Science 
is well known to many Fellows of the Linnean 
as well as of the Zoological Society, has engaged 
to convey these boxes on an experimental voyage 


to New Holland; and I hope, on his return, 
to find that they have not lost their character 
by being transported, 

I am, my dear Sir, yours very truly, 

N. B. Ward. 

To David Don, Esq. 


Copy of a Letter from Charles Mallard, Esq., 

R.N., to the Author. 

HoBART Town, November 23r(f, 1833. 


You will, I am sure, be much pleased to 
hear that your experiment for the preservation 
of plants alive, without the necessity of water 
or open exposure to the air, has fully succeeded. 

The two boxes entrusted to my care, contain- 
ing ferns, mosses, grasses, &c., are now on the 
poop of the ship (where they have been all the 
voyage); and the plants (with the exception of 
two or three ferns which appear to have faded), 
are all alive and vigorous. 

During the very hot weather near the equator, 
I gave them once a light sprinkling of water, and 
that is all they have received during the passage. 

All the plants have grown a great deal, par- 
ticularly the grasses, which have been attempting 
to push the top of the box off. 



I shall carry them forward to Sydney, accord- 
ing to your instructions, and have no doubt of 
delivering them into the hands of Mr. Cunning- 
ham in the same flourishing state in which they 
are at present. 

Allow me, in conclusion, to offer to you my 
warm congratulations upon the success of this 
simple but beautiful discovery for the preserva- 
tion of plants in the living state upon .the longest 
voyages ; and I feel not a little pride in having 
been the instrument by which the truth of your 
new principle has been fully proved by experi- 
ment. I am, Sir, &c., 

Charles Mallard. 

To N. B. Ward, Esq. 

Copy of a Letter from Mr. Traill to the Author, 

Cairo, Jpnl ZOth, 1835. 


I BEG to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letter of the 2nd ult., wherein you request in- 
formation as to the state of the plants sent by 
you in the Nile steamer.* The collection con- 
sisted, I believe, of one hundred and seventy, 
three species, contained in six glazed cases, two 
of which only were forwarded to me from Alex- 

* In August 1834. 


andria. The one which you mention as having 
been fitted up with talc, together with three 
others, were sent on to Syria* immediately on 
their arrival in Alexandria, so that I had no 
opportunity of seeing them. I have, however, 
the pleasure to inform you that the Egyptian 
portion of the collection was received here in 
the very best condition: the plants, when re- 
moved from the cases, did not appear to have 
suffered in the slightest degree ; they were in 
a perfectly fresh and vigorous state, and, in fact, 
hardly a leaf had been lost during their passage. 
Your plan I think decidedly a good one, and 
ought to be made generally known. 

I am. Sir, &c., J. Traill. 

To N. B. Ward, Esq. 

Copy of a Letter from G. Loddiges, Esq., to 

the Author, 

Hackney, February 18^, 1842. 

My dear Sir, 

In reply to your inquiries respecting the 
importation of living plants in your cases, I beg 
leave to say that my brother and I have, since 

* These cases were seen by Col. Higgins of the Engineers, in the 
garden of the Seraglio, at Beyrout, at the late eyacuation of that place 
by the Egyptians. 

o 2 


1835, made trial of more than five hundred cases 
to and from various parts of the globe, with 
great variety of success, but have uniformly 
found, wherever your own directions were strictly 
attended to — that is, when the cases were kept 
the whole voyage in the full exposure to the 
light upon deck, and care taken to repair the 
glass immediately in cases of accident — the plants 
have arrived in good condition; but we have 
never found this so well attended to as in those 
cases with which we have been favoured by your 
friends, and particularly by Capt. Mallard, of the 
** Kinnear ;" indeed amongst all we have sent out 
or received, none have arrived in such good order 
as those brought by this gentleman. I wish we 
had more that possessed his love for Natural 
History, and would take the same care which he 
has done, as we should not then have to deplore 
the number of importations totally ruined, even 
in your cases, simply for the want of the light 
of day, and these too under the care of captains 
who engage that they shall be kept upon deck, 
when the moment we are out of sight, they stow 
them away below, and they are never more 
thought of until their arrival: from experience 
in this mode of transportation we are enabled 
perfectly to see by their state whether they have 
been placed properly or not; for we find that 


there cannot be a worse mode of sending Uving 
plants than in these same cases, so placed in the 
dark. Some of the cases have been opened in 
fine order after voyages of upwards of eight 
months; in short, nothing more appears to be 
wanting to ensure success in the importation of 
plants, than to place them in these boxes pro- 
perly moistened, and to allow them the full 
benefit of light during the voyage. 
I remain, my dear Sir, 

Ever yours most sincerely, 

George Loddiges. 

To N. B. Ward, Esq. 


Copy of a Letter from Dr. Lindley, to the 


HoRT. Soo, January 15^ 1842. 

My dear Sir, 

As far as our experience goes, your plant- 
cases are by far the best that have ever been 
contrived. We uniformly find the plants in 
them, even from India, in excellent order, pro- 
vided the glass has not been broken, or they have 
not been over-watered when originally packed 
up. The latter arises from the packers not con- 
sidering how little water is really requisite for 
plants which lose none of it. The former acci- 


dent can hardly occur if the glass is well secured 
with a strong and close wireguard. 
Pray believe me, very truly yours, 

John Lindley. 

To N. a Ward, Esq. 


Copy of a Letter from Mr. J. Smith, to the 


Royal Botanic Qardxn, Ebw, JanMcay 24M, 1842. 

Dear Sir, 

In reply to your inquiry respecting the 
practical results obtained by adopting the plan of 
close-glazed cases, for the transfer of living plants 
from one country to another, I beg to say that the 
several cases which have arrived at this garden on 
that plan have shown that although all plants so 
treated may not succeed, still the deaths are but 
few in proportion to the number that we have 
witnessed in cases having open lattice or wire- 
work lids, covered with tarpauling or some such 
covering. It is much to be regretted that close- 
glazed cases were not in use during the years 
that the botanical collectors were employed in 
New Holland and the Cape of Good Hope, for 
this garden : a very great number of the plants 
which they sent home were always dead on their 
arrival, consequent on the imperfect protection 



during the voyage to this country ; therefore, 
from my experience, I have no hesitation in con- 
sidering your plan the best for the purpose de- 
sired. I am, sir, yours truly, 

J. Smith. 

To N. B. Ward, Esq. 

Copy of a Letter from D. Moore, Esq. to the 


Royal Botanic Garden, Qlasnbvin, Dublin, 
Ftbrumry 1^, 1842. 

My dear Sir, 

I FIND all the species of ferns I have tried, 
to grow well either in glazed Wardian cases, 
under hand-lights, or in close frames, when the 
external air can be excluded^ where some of the 
slender-growing kinds develope their fronds to such 
a degree of. beauty and elegance ais I have never 
observed excepting under such circumstances. 

I may especially notice our rare and beautiful 
Trichomanes speciosum, Willd., which can be cul- 
tivated to very great perfection on this plan, and 
is here, at this time (1st February, 1842), in a 
fine state of fructification, producing larger fronds 
than it usually does in its native habitat. Hyme* 
nophylhim Wilsoni, Hook., and H. Tunbridgense^ 
Sm., delight to grow in these close cases, and, 
when properly cultivated, attain to a larger size 


than they generally do in their habitats, producing 
fine fructiferous fronds. 

Adiantum Capillus-FeneriSy Linn., can only be 
seen to perfection in a cultivated state when 
grown in this manner, when it developes the 
fronds very large, and forms a beautiful object. 

When the weather is very hot in summer I 
sometimes give them a sprinkUng of water with 
the sjrringe, taking care to close the glasses as 
quick as possible, which greatly refreshes them, 
especially when in frames; but during six or 
seven months of the year they never receive a 
drop of water artificially. 

The various foreign species of Lycopodia I have 
tried in this way luxuriate amazingly. The only 
British species I have endeavoured to cultivate 
was Z. clavatum, Linn,, which grew very well, 
and when hung up, its long, slender, pendulous 
branches had a very graceful appearance. 

I find many of the species of Hepaticce thrive 
well in closed cases, especially those of the Mar^ 
chantue and the larger species of Jungermannia^ 
some of which have been cultivated here during 
the last three years, in a common frame, made as 
air-tight as possible. 

The beautiful Hygropila irrigua, Taylor, grows 
well, and is now (1st February, 1842) in an inci- 
pient state of fructification. 


Fegatella conica^ Taylor, grows very strong, 
and also Lunularia vulgaris, 

Jungermannia epiphylla^ Linn. ; furcata^ Linn. ; 
asplenioides, Linn. ; emarginata^ Ehr. ; nemorosa^ 
Linn. ; Taylori, Hook. ; trilobatum, Linn. ; kevi* 
gatum, Wils. ; cochlear if ormis^ Weis ; tomentella, 
Ehr. ; Hutchinsue, Hook. ; have all been success- 
fully cultivated in this collection. 

I remain, my dear Sir, very truly yours, 

D. Moore. 

To N. B. Ward, Esq. 

Letter from E. Chadwick, Esq. 

SoMBRSBT H0U8B, October litk, 1842. 


On a suggestion made to me by Professor 
Owen in the course of some conversation, I for*- 
ward for your acceptance a copy of a report on 
the sanitary condition of the labouring popula- 
tion. Mr. Owen stated that you had been attend- 
ing to the effects of climate on the animal crea- 
tion, as well as on that in which you have made 
so important and brilliant a discovery. I am in- 
duced, therefore, to lose no time in soliciting 
your attention to the facts stated in the Sanitary 
Report. The inquiry as to the atmospheric im- 
purities in some important cases is there opened, 

but by no means completed or concluded, and I 

o 5 


should be much obliged by any information which 
you may obtain bearing on the practical means of 
improving the sanitary condition of the labouring 

I remain, Sir, your very obedient servant, 

Edwin Chadwick. 

To N. B. Ward, Esq. 


General Board of Health, Whitehall, 
April lat^ 1851. 

My dear Sir, 

If you should have recently made any 
additional observations on the influence of light 
in health or disease, I should be glad if you would 
favour me with it, as it may just now, perhaps, be 
turned to account with reference to the Repeal of 
the Window Duties. 

I am very faithfully yours, 

Southwood Smith. 

To N. B. Ward, Esq. 


Clapham Rise, April drd^ 1851. 

My dear Sir, 

I wish it were in my power to adduce 
any fresh or striking instance of the beneficial 
effects of light. Corroborating proofs of the 
facts already before the public are daily and 
hourly occurring. But what need is there of 


any proof? If there be any truth in the saying, 
" Deus nil frustra fecit," God did not make the 
light of heaven for a Chancellor of the Exche- 
quer to give or withhold at his will and pleasure. 
It would be quite as lawful and just for the 
rulers of a kingdom to attempt to raise a revenue 
by poisoning the air that we breathe, or the food 
that we eat, as by interfering with the full and 
free enjoyment of Heaven's first-born and most 
precious gift. Some future Gibbon in his " His- 
tory of the Decline and Fall of the British Em- 
pire," in enumerating the causes of such decline 
might well place in a prominent rank the pro- 
found ignorance of its legislators upon subjects of 
the most vital importance to the well-being of 
the conmiunity. Believe me to be, my dear Sir, 
yours very truly, N. B. Ward. 

To Dr. Southwood Smith. 


RoTAL Qardbns, Kbw, April ith, 1851. 

My dear Sir, 

You pay me the compliment to ask my 
opinion on your " Wardian Cases," but their 
value has been so long tested, not only in this 
country, but really and truly all over the world, 
that I have only to say what every one interested 
in the progress of botany and horticulture can 


say : — they have been the means, in the last fif- 
teen years, of introducing more new and valuable 
plants to our gardens than were imported during 
the preceding century; and in the character of 
"Domestic Green-houses," if I may so speak; 
i.e. as a means of cultivating plants with success 
in our parlours, our halls, and our drawing- 
rooms, they have constituted a new era in hor- 

I shall never forget the expression made use of 
by the late Mr, Loddiges to me one day when 
speaking of your cases ; ** Whereas I used for- 
merly to lose nineteen out of twenty of the plants 
I imported during the voyage, nineteen out of 
twenty is now the average of those that survive." 

Believe me, my dear Mr. Ward, most faithfully 
yours, W. J. Hooker. 

Extract from last Report on the state of the Royal 

Gardens, Kew. 

Sir William Hooker states in his Report on the 
Kew Gardens, that there have been sent abroad, 
mainly to our own territories, between January 
1847 and December 1850, living rooted plants, in 
glazed Wardian Cases, as follows : — " To Ascension 
Island, 330 plants (mostly trees and shrubs cal- 
culated to bear exposure to the sea-breezes and 


the most powerful winds, and the success of these 
has been beyond all expectation, affording shelter 
and protection where none could be obtained 
before); Bombay, 160; Borneo, 16; Calcutta, 
211 ; Cape of Good Hope, 60; Cape de Verdes, 
20 ; Ceylon, 136 ; Constantinople, 90 ; Demerara, 
57; Falkland Islands, 118; Florence, 28; Grey 
Town, Mosquito, 30 ; Hong Kong, 108 ; Jamaica, 
124 : Lima, 33 ; Mauritius, 36 ; Port Natal, 29 ; 
New Zealand, 57 ; Para, 33 : Port PhiUp, 33 ; 
St. Domingo, 34; Sierra Leone, 71; Sydney, 
392; South Australia, 76 ; Trinidad, 215; North 
West Africa, 65 ; West Australia, 46 ; Van Die- 
man's Land, 60; Valparaiso, 34. Total 2722, 
despatched in sixty-four glazed cases, besides four 
cases of Para grass. — N.B. From nearly all the 
abovementioned colonies or countries very rich 
and valuable returns have been sent either to the 
garden or the museum, or both." 


Letter from Dr. Faraday, in answer to an inquiry 
concerning his Lecture on the Closed Cases. 

Royal Institution, iVoMmAer ith, 1851. 

My dear Sir, 

I CANNOT but regret you should have 
reason to murmur, and should be glad to testify 
to the originality of the thought with you as far 


as I can, but my memory is not good. However, 
I have luckily found the notes I used on the 
evening, which was the 6th April, 1838. At the 
bottom of the page headed application, you will 
see the note of application to men and animals^ in 
respect of which I read that the atmosphere, &c. 
of climates, as of Madeira, &c., might be obtained 
and adjusted for patients, even in towns. You 
may make any use of this that you like, only 
return me the notes. 

Ever truly yours, 

M. Faraday. 

Letter to Sir J. Paxton. 

Clapham Rise, Auffust 21$^ 1852. 


A NEW edition of my little work on the 
" Growth of Plants in closely glazed Cases " is 
now in the press. In that work, published 'in 
1842, I strongly advocated the application of the 
same principle which had proved "so beneficial in 
the growth of the most delicate plants in the 
centre of crowded cities, to the relief of some 
diseases incidental to man, selecting two for ex- 
ample, measles and consumption. I cannot sup- 
pose that you have ever seen my work, as in 
advocating the erection of a Sanatorium for the 


Hospital for Consumption, you did not mention 
my name, although your arguments were the 
same as my own. 

As I must allude to this in my preface, it 
will give much pleasure to state upon your own 
authority, that your observations were quite in- 
dependent of mine. 

Apologising for thus troubKng you, I have the 
honour to be. Sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 

N. B. Ward. 

To Sir J. Paxton. 


Clapkam, August 27th^ IB52, 

My dear Sir, 

When Suminsky's work on the develop- 
ment of Ferns first came into my hands, a strong 
desire to repeat his observations led me to seek 
for seedlings where they were most likely to be 
found, namely, in my own fern case, at Kew, and 
other conservatories; but I soon found such 
sources were unsatisfactory, for although I could 
obtain abundance of plants in which the organs 
of reproduction (?) described by him were clearly 
discernible, yet I could rarely find the moving 
ciliated bodies said to perform such an important 
part in their development. There were, too, 
differences evidently specific that I could not 


comprehend^ and which were a bar to anything 
like correct observation. It was therefore obvious, 
if the investigation were to be followed up success- 
fully, that some means must be devised for raising 
an imlimited supply of any desired species. The 
usual method of sowing fern-seed, by scattering 
it over damp, sandy mould, is very uncertain, for 
the mould itself will frequently contain the seeds 
of other species ; and even if the crop of plants 
come true to the sowing, it is difficult properly 
to separate sand and other extraneous matter 
from the young frond previously to placing it 
under the microscope, without danger of injuring 
its delicate structure. My plan, therefore, was 
to procure some soft, porous, potter's ware ma- 
terial that should readily imbibe and retain 
moisture upon which to sow the seed desired to 
be raised. While searching for such material I 
met with a peculiarly fine and soft sandstone, 
admirably adapted for the purpose. This I pre- 
pared by breaking it into pieces of from one to 
two inches square, and less than one inch thick, 
afterwards rendering the faces parallel and smooth 
by rubbing them on a flat stone. The reason for 
thus adjusting the size and smoothness of the 
pieces was simply to facilitate their being placed 
for observation on the stage of a microscope. 
Before sowing the seeds on these prepared pieces 


they were baked in an oven to destroy any 
organic life that might be lurking about them. 
They were then piled in dishes, moistened with 
DISTILLED water, and covered with bell-glasses, 
preparatory to receiving the seed. The seed to 
be sown was obtained from a recently gathered 
frond laid fruiting side down, between two sheets 
of white paper, on the top of which was laid a 
book or piece of board to keep them in place. 
In the course of three or four days the seed was 
discharged from the capsules, and removed to the 
damp stone by turning the stone down upon it, 
of course taking care that the seed did not lie 
too thickly. In about sixty hours germination 
had commenced, and thenceforth daily progressed 
into maturity. In this way I have raised several 
species of ferns without a failure; abundant 
means being thus afforded for observing their 
development from the commencement of germi- 
nation up to the perfect plant. 

I have been repeatedly told by those who have 
attempted to raise ferns from seed, that I might 
sow what I pleased, but something I did not 
want would spring up. Most likely such had 
been the experience of my informants, although 
the reason for it was not obvious. My experi- 
ments proved the contrary, and demonstrated 
most imequivocally, that, by observing the requi- 


site conditions^ any species may be raised, if the 
seed sown be fresh and fully matured. 

This principle of raising ferns is applicable to 
several important purposes besides that of the 
facility it affords for observing and studying the 
laws of their development. In the first place 
many kinds now rare and valuable, or even im- 
known in this country from the difficulty of 
bringing them home, even with the protection of 
your glazed cases, might be introduced with faci- 
lity by sowing the seeds in the country where 
they grow,* on some suitable material, whether 
sandstone, Bath brick, tile, wood, bark, or even 
charcoal — ^wood or bark suggests itself in the case 
of such as are parasitic in their habits — and 
enclosing them in a small glass case, a case so 
much smaller than woidd be required for full- 
grown plants, that it might be a cabin companion 
for a long voyage. Secondly, it is frequently 
desirable, even in this country, to raise particular 
species with some greater degree of certainty 
than, from various ill-tmderstood causes, is gene- 
rally found practicable. Again, experiments on 
this principle may be tried in a great variety of 
ways until the true habits of obscure species are 

• On referring to your book " On the Growth of Plants in Closely- 
glazed Cases,^* p. 29, near the bottom, I find that the same idea is 
expressed in reference to the use of sur&ce-mould as a medium. 


accurately determined. Some ferns are impatient 
of removal; such may be raised from seed on 
suitable pieces of stone or wood, and afterwards 
introduced into pots, or crevices in walls and 
rockwork prepared to receive them. 

I conceive that a Ward's case, artistically filled 
with such admirable sandstone as my experiments 
have been made upon, but which I am sorry not 
to be able to tell you the source of, might be 
judiciously sown with seeds of small moisture- 
loving ferns, and form one of the most exquisite 
of drawing-room or cottage conservatories, and 
which, in its gradual progress to maturity would 
delight the eye, expand the imderstanding, and 
warm the heart in love and gratitude towards the 
Author of that portion of creation which is truly 
the most beautiful, as well as most essential to 
our healthy and happy existence on earth, I mean 
the Vegetable kingdom. 

No kind of vegetation that I am acquainted 
with has ever struck me with such wonder, admi- 
ration, and delight, as the little crops of ferns 
raised as you have seen them, and as I have now 
endeavoured to show you how to raise ; and 
nothing would please me better than to see others 
deriving similar enjoyment from this simple and 
accessible source. Any one who makes a garden 
of this kind under a bell-glass, must observe that 


the material on which the seed is sown is so 
porous that the requisite amount of moisture 
will pass to the top by capillary action when ap- 
plied to the bottom of it. Also^ that with an 
abundance of light, the sun must not shine 
directly upon it. 

I remaiui with the greatest regard and esteem. 

Yours very truly, 

Henry Deane. 

To N. B. Ward, Esq. 

Since writing the above, the following obser- 
vations, in the '* Quarterly Review " for 1842-6, 
have come to my notice. They so beautifully 
express what I would have done but could not, 
that I must add it as a postscript. After speak- 
ing of the application of the closed cases in the 
conveyance of plants, the editor says : — 

" But while this mode of conveyance answers 
the purposes of science, a much more beautiful 
adaptation of the same principle is contrived for 
the bed-room of the invalid. Who is there that 
has not some friend or other confined by chronic 
disease, or lingering decline, to a single chamber, 
one we will suppose who, a short while ago, was 
among the gayest and most admired of a large 
and happy circle, now, through sickness, depen- 
dent, after her one stay, for her minor comforts 


and amusements on the angel visits of a few kind 
friends, a little worsted work, or a new Quarterly, 
and in the absence or dulness of these, happy 
in the possession of some fresh gathered flowers, 
and in watering and tending a few pots of 
favourite plants, which are to her as friends, and 
whose flourishing progress under her tender care 
offers a melancholy but instructive contrast to 
her own decaying strength. Some mild autumn 
evening her physician makes a later visit than 
usual, the room is faint from the exhalations of 
the flowers, the patient is not so well to-day, he 
wonders that he never noticed that mignionette, 
and those geraniums before, or he never should 
have allowed them to remain so long. Some 
weighty words on oxygen and hydrogen are 
spoken ; her poor pets are banished for ever at 
the word of the man of science, and the most 
innocent and imfailing of her little interests is 
at an end. By the next morning her flowers are 
gone, but the patient is no better ; there is less 
cheerfulness than usual, there is a listless wander- 
ing of the eyes after something that is not there ; 
and the good man is too much of a philosopher 
not to know how the working of the mind will 
act upon the body, and too much of a Christian 
not to prevent the rising evil if he can ; he hears 
with a smile her expression of regret for her 


long-cherished favourites, but he says not a word. 
In the evening a largish box arrives directed to 
the fair patient, and superscribed ' keep this side 
uppermost, with care,' There is more than com- 
mon interest on box-opening in the sick chamber. 
After a little tender hammering, and tiresome 
knot-loosening, Thompson has removed the lid, 
and there lies a large oval bell-glass fixed down to 
a stand of ebony, some moist sand at the bottom, 
and here and there, over the whole surface, some 
tiny ferns are just pushing their curious little 
fronds into life, and already promise, from their 
fresh and healthy appearance, to supply in their 
growth and increase, all the beauty and interest 
of the discarded flowers, without their injurious 
effects. It is so. These delicate exotics — for 
such they are — closely sealed down in an air- 
tight world of their own, flourish with amazing 
rapidity, and in time produce seeds, which pro- 
vide a generation to succeed them. Every day 
witnessing some change, keeps the mind continu- 
ally interested in their progress, and their very 
restriction from the open air, while it renders the 
chamber wholesome to the invalid, provides at 
the same time an imdisturbed atmosphere more 
suited to the development of their own tender 
frames. We need scarcely add, that the doctor, 
the next morning finds the wonted cheerful smile 



restored, and though recovery may be beyond the 
skill, as it is beyond the ken, of man, he at least 
has the satisfaction of knowing that he has light- 
ened a heart in affiction, and gained the gratitude 
of a humble spirit, in restoring, without the 
poison, a pleasure that was lost." 


Printed by Samuel Bbntlet and Co. 

Bangor House, Shoe Lane.